Journal Article

The Millennium Galaxy Catalogue: the <i>B</i>-band attenuation of bulge and disc light and the implied cosmic dust and stellar mass densities

Simon P. Driver, Cristina C. Popescu, Richard J. Tuffs, Jochen Liske, Alister W. Graham, Paul D. Allen and Roberto De Propris

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 379, issue 3, pages 1022-1036
Published in print August 2007 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2007 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The Millennium Galaxy Catalogue: the B-band attenuation of bulge and disc light and the implied cosmic dust and stellar mass densities

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Based on our sample of 10 095 galaxies with bulge–disc decompositions we derive the empiricalBMGC-band internal attenuation–inclination relation for galaxy discs and their associated central bulges. Our results agree well with the independently derived dust models of Tuffs et al., leading to a direct constraint on the mean opacity of spiral discs of τfB= 3.8 ± 0.7 (central face-on BMGC-band opacity). Depending on inclination, the BMGC-band attenuation correction varies from 0.2 to 1.1 mag for discs and from 0.8 to 2.6 mag for bulges. We find that, overall, 37 per cent of all BMGC-band photons produced in discs in the nearby Universe are absorbed by dust, a figure that rises to 71 per cent for bulge photons. The severity of internal dust extinction is such that one must incorporate internal dust corrections in all optical studies of large galaxy samples. This is particularly pertinent for optical Hubble Space Telescope comparative evolutionary studies as the dust properties will also be evolving. We use the new results to revise our recent estimates of the spheroid and disc luminosity functions. The implied stellar mass densities at redshift zero are somewhat higher than our earlier estimates: ρdiscs= (3.8 ± 0.6) → (4.4 ± 0.6) × 108h M Mpc−3 and ρbulges= (1.6 ± 0.4) → (2.2 ± 0.4) × 108h M Mpc−3. From our best-fitting dust models we derive a redshift zero cosmic dust density of ρdust≈ (5.3 ± 1.7) × 105h M Mpc−3. This implies that (0.0083 ± 0.0027)h per cent of the baryons in the Universe are in the form of dust and (11.9 ± 1.7) h per cent (Salpeter-‘lite’ initial mass function) are in the form of stars (∼58 per cent reside in galaxy discs, ∼10 per cent in red elliptical galaxies, ∼29 per cent in classical galaxy bulges and the remainder in low-luminosity blue spheroid systems/components).

Keywords: dust, extinction; galaxies: fundamental parameters; galaxies: photometry; galaxies: spiral; galaxies: structure

Journal Article.  9986 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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