Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | VOL. 417

Empirical determination of the shape of dust attenuation curves in star-forming galaxies

Publication Date Sep 26, 2011


We present a systematic study of the shape of the dust attenuation curve in star-forming galaxies from the far-ultraviolet (far-UV) to the near-infrared (NIR; ∼0.15–2 μm), as a function of specific star formation rate (ψ S) and axial ratio (b/a), for galaxies with and without a significant bulge. Our sample comprises 23 000 (15 000) galaxies with a median redshift of 0.07, with photometric entries in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky SurveyLarge Area Survey and Galaxy Evolution Explorer-All-Sky Imaging Survey catalogues and emission-line measurements from the SDSS spectroscopic survey. We develop a new pairmatching technique to isolate the dust attenuation curves from the stellar continuum emission. The main results are: (i) the slope of the attenuation curve in the optical varies weakly with ψ S, strongly with b/a, and is significantly steeper than the Milky Way extinction law in bulgedominated galaxies; (ii) the NIR slope is constant and matches the slope of the Milky Way extinction law; (iii) the UV has a slope change consistent with a dust bump at 2175 A which is evident in all samples and varies strongly in strength with b/a in the bulge-dominated sample; (iv) there is a strong increase in emission-line-to-continuum dust attenuation (τ V,line/τ V,cont) with both decreasing ψ S and increasing b/a; and (v) radial gradients in dust attenuation increase strongly with increasing ψ S, and the presence of a bulge does not alter the strength of the gradients. These results are consistent with the pict...


Dust Attenuation Attenuation Curve Birth Clouds Dust Attenuation Curves Diffuse Interstellar Dust Older Stars Unit Stellar Mass Higher Star Formation Rates Sloan Digital Sky Survey Star-forming Galaxies

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