Mid-infrared IRS spectroscopy of NGC 7331: A first look at the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey (SINGS) legacy

J. D.T. Smith, D. A. Dale, L. Armus, B. T. Draine, D. J. Hollenbach, H. Roussel, G. Helou, R. C. Kennicutt, A. Li, G. J. Bendo, D. Calzetti, C. W. Engelbracht, K. D. Gordon, T. H. Jarrett, L. Kewley, C. Leitherer, S. Malhotra, M. J. Meyer, E. J. Murphy, M. W. ReganG. H. Rieke, M. J. Rieke, M. D. Thornley, F. Walter, M. G. Wolfire

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75 Scopus citations


The nearby spiral galaxy NGC 7331 was spectrally mapped from 5 to 38 μm using all modules of Spitzer's Infrared Spectrograph (IRS). A strong new dust emission feature, presumed due to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, was discovered at 17.1 μm. The feature's intensity is nearly half that of the ubiquitous 11.3 μm band. The 7-14 μm spectral maps revealed significant variation in the 7.7 and 11.3 μm PAH features between the stellar ring and nucleus. Weak [O IV] 25.9 μm line emission was found to be centrally concentrated in the nucleus, with an observed strength of over 10% of the combined neon line flux, indicating an AGN or unusually active massive star photoionization. Two [S III] lines fix the characteristic electron density in the H II regions at ne ≲ 200 cm-3. Three detected H2 rotational lines, tracing warm molecular gas, together with the observed IR continuum, are difficult to match with standard photodissociation region (PDR) models. Either additional PDR heating or shocks are required to simultaneously match lines and continuum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-203
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Dust, extinction
  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: individual (NGC 7331)
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Line: identification
  • Techniques: spectroscopic


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