Universe of Spectroscopy

Author: Hideaki Fujiwara

What would you like to introduce to readers in this series?

My article focuses on "cosmic dust", a term that suggests a material so small that its substance pales in comparison to the immense size of stars and galaxies. Nevertheless, cosmic dust has huge significance, because it is the raw material that makes up planets like Earth, and the faint light given off by such dust yields clues about how planets form.

In contrast to observational astronomy's long history of more than 400 years, serious concentration on mid-infrared spectroscopy has only spanned a very short period of thirty to forty years. Nevertheless, recent findings from such telescopes as Japan's Subaru Telescope and the AKARI infrared astronomical satellite as well as NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have allowed researchers to obtain spectra of cosmic dust precise enough directly compare with minerals on Earth.

The goal of my article in the Universe of Spectroscopy series is to share some of the latest research developments that infrared spectroscopy has revealed about the material composition of planets.

My research field and current interests:

Using the concept from astromineralogy and the methodology of infrared observation, I am studying the growth and development of protoplanetary and debris disks, both of which play an important role in the planetary formation process.

In the future, I hope to investigate the diversity and universality of the planetary formation process by comparing matter from our Solar System. The results of missions such as that of the asteroid-exploring spacecraft Hayabusa continue to expand our understanding of materials in space.


Hideaki Fujiwara, Ph.D.
Subaru Telescope (NAOJ)
Job Title
Public Information Officer / Scientist
Field of Expertise
Astromineralogy and Infrared Astronomy