The relations among 8, 24 and 160 μm dust emission within nearby spiral galaxies

G. J. Bendo, B. T. Draine, C. W. Engelbracht, G. Helou, M. D. Thornley, C. Bot, B. A. Buckalew, D. Calzetti, D. A. Dale, D. J. Hollenbach, A. Li, J. Moustakas

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We investigate the relations among the stellar continuum-subtracted 8 μm polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH 8 μ m) emission, 24 μm hot dust emission and 160 μm cold dust emission in 15 nearby face-on spiral galaxies in the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey sample. The relation between PAH 8 and 24 μm emission measured in ∼2 kpc regions is found to exhibit a significant amount of scatter, and strong spatial variations are observed in the (PAH 8 μ m)/24 μm surface brightness ratio. In particular, the (PAH 8 μ m)/24 μm surface brightness ratio is observed to be high in the diffuse interstellar medium and low in bright star-forming regions and other locations with high 24 μm surface brightness. PAH 8 μ m emission is found to be well-correlated with 160 μm emission on spatial scales of ∼2 kpc, and the (PAH 8 μ m)/160 μm surface brightness ratio is generally observed to increase as the 160 μm surface brightness increases. These results suggest that the PAHs are associated with the diffuse, cold dust that produces most of the 160 μm emission in these galaxies, and the variations in the (PAH 8 μ m)/160 μm ratio may generally be indicative of either the intensity or the spectrum of the interstellar radiation field that is heating both the PAHs and the diffuse interstellar dust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-650
Number of pages22
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Infrared: galaxies


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