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The identification of dust heating mechanisms in nearby galaxies using Herschel 160/250 and 250/350μm surface brightness ratios

Bendo, G. J., Baes, M., Bianchi, S., Boquien, M., Boselli, A., Cooray, A., Cortese, L., De Looze, I., di Serego Alighieri, S., Fritz, J., Gentile, G., Hughes, T. M., Lu, N., Pappalardo, C., Smith, Matthew, Spinoglio, L., Viaene, S. and Vlahakis, C. 2015. The identification of dust heating mechanisms in nearby galaxies using Herschel 160/250 and 250/350μm surface brightness ratios. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 448 (1) , pp. 135-167. 10.1093/mnras/stu1841

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Abstract

We examined variations in the 160/250 and 250/350 µm surface brightness ratios within 24 nearby (<30 Mpc) face-on spiral galaxies observed with the Herschel Space Observatory to identify the heating mechanisms for dust emitting at these wavelengths. The analysis consisted of both qualitative and quantitative comparisons of the 160/250 and 250/350 µm ratios to Hα and 24 µm emission, which trace the light from star-forming regions, and 3.6 µm emission, which traces the light from the older stellar populations of the galaxies. We find broad variations in the heating mechanisms for the dust. In one subset of galaxies, we found evidence that emission at ≤160 µm (and in rare cases potentially at ≤350 µm) originates from dust heated by star-forming regions. In another subset, we found that the emission at ≥250 µm (and sometimes at ≥160 µm) originates from dust heated by the older stellar population. In the rest of the sample, either the results are indeterminate or both of these stellar populations may contribute equally to the global dust heating. The observed variations in dust heating mechanisms do not necessarily match what has been predicted by dust emission and radiative transfer models, which could lead to overestimated dust temperatures, underestimated dust masses, false detections of variability in dust emissivity, and inaccurate star formation rate measurements.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1365-2966
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 December 2017
Date of Acceptance: 4 September 2014
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2017 15:16
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/107335

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