Got DIBs?


Credit: T.W. Lan, G. Zasowski, B. Ménard, SDSS and 2MASS/UMASS/IPAC-CALTECH/NASA/NSF

Ninety-three years ago, astronomer Mary Lea Heger discovered diffuse interstellar bands, DIBs, in the spectra of stars. Some sort of mysterious molecules in the interstellar space between stars and Earth were causing lines to appear
in the stars' spectra. Scientists still are not sure what produces the bands, but now they have a map of where the enigmatic molecules are in space. By analyzing massive amounts of data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a team of Johns Hopkins astronomers produced this map. Red indicates areas with the most abundant DIB molecules, blue the least.