Scattering by interstellar dust grains. II. X-rays

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Scattering and absorption of X-rays by interstellar dust is calculated for a model consisting of carbonaceous grains and amorphous silicate grains. The calculations employ realistic dielectric functions with structure near X-ray absorption edges, with resulting features in absorption, scattering, and extinction. Differential scattering cross sections are calculated for energies between 0.3 and 10 keV. The median scattering angle is given as a function of energy, and simple but accurate approximations are found for the X-ray scattering properties of the dust mixture, as well as for the angular distribution of the scattered X-ray halo for dust with simple spatial distributions. Observational estimates of the X-ray scattering optical depth are compared to model predictions. Observations of X-ray halos to test interstellar dust grain models are best carried out using extragalactic point sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1026-1037
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Dust, extinction
  • Polarization
  • Scattering
  • Ultraviolet: ISM
  • X-rays: ISM


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