Dust Grain Size Distributions from MRN to MEM

Clayton, Geoffrey C., Wolff, Michael J., Sofia, Ulysses J., Gordon, K. D., & Misselt, K. A.
2003, The Astrophysical Journal, 588, 871


Employing the maximum entropy method (MEM) algorithm, we fit interstellar extinction measurements that span the wavelength range 0.125-3 μm. We present a uniform set of MEM model fits, all using the same grain materials, optical constants, and abundance constraints. In addition, we are taking advantage of improved UV and IR data and better estimates of the gas-to-dust ratio. The model fits cover the entire range of extinction properties that have been seen in the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds. The grain models employed for this presentation are the simplistic homogeneous sphere models (i.e., those of Mathis, Rumpl, & Nordsieck in 1977) with two (graphite, silicate) or three (graphite, silicate, amorphous carbon) components. Although such usage is only a first step, the results do provide interesting insight into the use of grain size as a diagnostic of dust environment. We find that the SMC bar extinction curve cannot be fitted using carbon grains alone. This is a challenge to the recent observational result indicating little silicon depletion in the SMC.

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