AR 15036 (Archival Research)

Sun Jul 14 11:40:46 GMT 2024

Principal Investigator: Claus Leitherer
PI Institution: Space Telescope Science Institute
Investigators (xml)

Title: A New Probe of Dust Attenuation in Star-Forming Galaxies
Cycle: 25

We propose to develop, calibrate and test a new technique to measure dust attenuation in star-forming galaxies. The technique utilizes the strong stellar-wind emission lines in Wolf-Rayet stars, which are routinely observed in galaxy spectra locally and up to redshift 3. The He II 1640 and 4686 features are recombination lines whose intrinsic ratio is almost exclusively determined by atomic physics. Therefore it can serve as a stellar dust probe in the same way as the nebular hydrogen-line ratio can be used to measure the reddening of the gas phase. Archival spectra of Wolf-Rayet stars will be analyzed to calibrate the method, and panchromatic FOS and STIS spectra of nearby star-forming galaxies will be used as a first application. The new technique allows us to study stellar and nebular attenuation in galaxies separately and to test its effects at different stellar age and mass regimes.