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...

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

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