The Three-dimensional Distribution of Dust in NGC 891

Type Journal Article
Names Andrew Schechtman-Rook, Matthew A. Bershady, Kenneth Wood
Publication The Astrophysical Journal
Volume 746
Issue 1
Pages 70
Date February 1, 2012
Library Catalog NASA ADS
Abstract We produce three-dimensional Monte Carlo radiative transfer models of the edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 891, a fast-rotating galaxy thought to be an analog to the Milky Way. The models contain realistic spiral arms and a fractal distribution of clumpy dust. We fit our models to Hubble Space Telescope images corresponding to the B and I bands, using shapelet analysis and a genetic algorithm to generate 30 statistically best-fitting models. These models have a strong preference for spirality and clumpiness, with average face-on attenuation decreasing from 0.24(0.16) to 0.03(0.03) mag in the B(I) band between 0.5 and 2 radial scale-lengths. Most of the attenuation comes from small high-density clumps with low (lsim10%) filling factors. The fraction of dust in clumps is broadly consistent with results from fitting NGC 891's spectral energy distribution. Because of scattering effects and the intermixed nature of the dust and starlight, attenuation is smaller and less wavelength-dependent than the integrated dust column density. Our clumpy models typically have higher attenuation at low inclinations than previous radiative transfer models using smooth distributions of stars and dust, but similar attenuation at inclinations above 70°. At all inclinations, most clumpy models have less attenuation than expected from previous estimates based on minimizing scatter in the Tully-Fisher relation. Mass-to-light ratios are higher and the intrinsic scatter in the Tully-Fisher relation is larger than previously expected for galaxies similar to NGC 891. The attenuation curve changes as a function of inclination, with R B, B – I = AB /(E(B – I)) increasing by ~0.75 from face-on to near-edge-on orientations.
Tags DUST, GALAXIES: STELLAR CONTENT, RADIATIVE TRANSFER, extinction, galaxies: individual: NGC 891, galaxies: spiral
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