The Dust in Lyman Break Galaxies

Vijh, Uma P., Witt, Adolf N., & Gordon, Karl D.
2003, The Astrophysical Journal, 587, 533


We present our analysis of UV attenuation by internal dust of a large sample (N=906 galaxies) of Lyman break galaxies (LBGs). Using spectral energy distributions (SEDs) from the PÉGASE galaxy spectral evolution model, we apply dust attenuation corrections to the G-R colors, using the Witt & Gordon models for radiative transfer in dusty galactic environments to arrive at the UV attenuation factors. We show that the dust in the LBGs exhibits SMC-like rather than Milky Way-like characteristics and that the dust geometry in these systems is most likely to be represented by a clumpy shell configuration. We show that the attenuation factor exhibits a pronounced dependence on the luminosity of the LBG, a1600~(L/Lsolar)α, where 0.5<=α<=1.5. The exponent α depends on the initial parameters of the stellar population chosen to model the galaxies and the dust properties. We find that the luminosity-weighted average attenuation factor is likely to be in the range from 5.7 to 18.5, which is consistent with the upper limits to the star formation rate at 2

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