Focusing on the organic inventory of regions of star and planet formation in the interstellar medium of galaxies, this comprehensive overview of the molecular universe is an invaluable reference source for advanced undergraduates through to entry-level researchers. It includes an extensive discussion of microscopic physical and chemical processes in the universe; these play a role in the excitation, spectral characteristics, formation, and evolution of molecules in the gas phase and on grain surfaces. In addition, the latest developments in this area of molecular astrophysics provide a firm foundation for an in-depth understanding of the molecular phases of the interstellar medium. The physical and chemical properties of gaseous molecules, mixed molecular ices, and large polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules and fullerenes and their role in the interstellar medium are highlighted. For those with an interest in the molecular universe, this advanced textbook bridges the gap between molecular physics, astronomy, and physical chemistry.
This comprehensive yet accessible textbook provides a self-contained one-semester course for advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate students. It is written in a style that students can follow by themselves and allows instructors to use class time to go deeper into the details or show applications to current research. Most figures were created using publicly available data with accompanying Python scripts available at interstellarmedium.github.io, so that students can learn to analyze real data and create figures for their own research.