The Spectral Energy Distribution of Dust Emission in the Edge-on Spiral Galaxy NGC 4631 as Seen with Spitzer and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope

Bendo, George J., Dale, Daniel A., Draine, Bruce T., Engelbracht, Charles W., Kennicutt, Robert C., Jr., Calzetti, Daniela, Gordon, Karl D., Helou, George, Hollenbach, David, Li, Aigen, Murphy, Eric J., Prescott, Moire K. M., & Smith, John-David T.
2006, The Astrophysical Journal, 652, 283

We explore variations in dust emission within the edge-on Sd spiral galaxy NGC 4631 using 3.6-160 μm Spitzer Space Telescope data and 450-850 μm JCMT data with the goals of understanding the relation between PAHs and dust emission, studying the variations in the colors of the dust emission, and searching for possible excess submillimeter emission compared to what is expected from dust models extrapolated from far-infrared wavelengths. The 8 μm PAH emission correlates best with 24 μm hot dust emission on 1.7 kpc scales, but the relation breaks down on 650 pc scales, possibly because of differences in the mean free paths between photons that excite the PAHs and photons that heat the dust and possibly because the PAHs are destroyed by the hard radiation fields within some star formation regions. The ratio of 8 μm PAH emission to 160 μm cool dust emission appears to vary as a function of radius. The 70 μm/160 μm and 160 μm/450 μm flux density ratios are remarkably constant even though the surface brightnesses vary by factors of 25, which suggests that the emission is from dust heated by a nearly uniform radiation field. Globally, we find an excess of 850-1230 μm emission relative to what would be predicted by dust models. The 850 μm excess is highest in regions with low 160 μm surface brightnesses, although the magnitude depends on the model fit to the data. We rule out variable emissivity functions or ~4 K dust as the possible origins of this 850 μm emission, but we do discuss the other possible mechanisms that could produce the emission.


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