HERschel Observations of Edge-on Spirals (HEROES). I. Far-infrared morphology and dust mass determination

Verstappen, J., Fritz, J., Baes, M., Smith, M. W. L., Allaert, F., Bianchi, S., Blommaert, J. A. D. L., De Geyter, G., De Looze, I., Gentile, G., Gordon, K. D., Holwerda, B. W., Viaene, S., & Xilouris, E. M.
2013, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 556, 54


Context. Edge-on spiral galaxies with prominent dust lanes provide us with an excellent opportunity to study the distribution and properties of the dust within them. The HEROES project was set up to observe a sample of seven large edge-on galaxies across various wavelengths for this investigation. Aims: Within this first paper, we present the Herschel observations and perform a qualitative and quantitative analysis on them, and we derive some global properties of the far infrared and submillimetre emission. Methods: We determine horizontal and vertical profiles from the Herschel observations of the galaxies in the sample and describe the morphology. Modified black-body fits to the global fluxes, measured using aperture photometry, result in dust temperatures and dust masses. The latter values are compared to those that are derived from radiative transfer models taken from the literature. Results: On the whole, our Herschel flux measurements agree well with archival values. We find that the exponential horizontal dust distribution model often used in the literature generally provides a good description of the observed horizontal profiles. Three out of the seven galaxies show signatures of extended vertical emission at 100 and 160 μm at the 5σ level, but in two of these it is probably due to deviations from an exactly edge-on orientation. Only for NGC 4013, a galaxy in which vertically extended dust has already been detected in optical images, we can detect vertically extended dust, and the derived scaleheight agrees with the value estimated through radiative transfer modelling. Our analysis hints at a correlation between the dust scaleheight and its degree of clumpiness, which we infer from the difference between the dust masses as calculated from modelling of optical data and from fitting the spectral energy distribution of Herschel datapoints. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA.

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