Christopher T. Tibbs

ESA Research Fellow


Main Research Fields

My research interests involve the interstellar medium (ISM) - the gas and dust between the stars. The ISM plays a vital role in the evolution of galaxies as it is out of the ISM that stars, and their planets, are formed. I am interested in all of the different phases of the ISM e.g. dark clouds, molecular clouds, cold neutral medium, warm neutral medium, warm ionised medium, reflection nebulae, photo-dissociation regions, and HII regions.

I am particularly interested in the interstellar dust within the ISM. Our understanding of interstellar dust is still not complete. Physical properties such as dust grain composition and dust grain size distribution, and evolutionary properties such as grain growth, are still not well defined. My research is focused on trying to constrain these properties.

One such method to do this is by using a new form of interstellar dust emission called spinning dust emission. Interstellar dust is known to absorb the ultraviolet/optical emission from stars and re-emit this energy at infrared wavelengths. However, recent results have shown that interstellar dust not only emits at infrared wavelengths, but also at much longer wavelengths (3mm - 3cm). This long wavelength dust emission is now understood to be produced by electric dipole emission from small spinning interstellar dust grains containing an electric dipole moment. My research is focused on improving our understanding of this enigmatic emission mechanism, and applying this to constrain the physical and evolutionary properties of interstellar dust grains.

Ongoing collaborations

  • Sean Carey (California Institute of Technology)
  • Simon Casassus (Universidad de Chile)
  • Kieran Cleary (California Institute of Technology)
  • Clive Dickinson (University of Manchester)
  • Nicolas Flagey (University of Hawaii)
  • Frank Israel (Leiden University)
  • René Laureijs (ESA/ESTEC)
  • Peregrine McGehee (California Institute of Technology)
  • Alberto Noriega-Crespo (Space Telescope Science Institute)
  • Roberta Paladini (California Institute of Technology)
  • Anna Scaife (University of Southampton)
  • Jan Tauber (ESA/ESTEC)
  • Alessio Traficante (University of Manchester)
  • Nathalie Ysard (Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale)

Project/mission at ESA

Planck & Herschel

Contact details


Tel: +31 (0)71 565 3500


A full list of my publications can be found here: ADS


A copy of my CV can be found here: Tibbs_CV.pdf






Last updated by C.T. Tibbs on March 2017