Journal Article

Ultraviolet dust attenuation in star-forming galaxies – II. Calibrating the <i>A</i>(UV) versus <b><i>L</i></b><sub><b>TIR</b></sub>/<b><i>L</i></b><sub><b>UV</b></sub> relation

L. Cortese, A. Boselli, P. Franzetti, R. Decarli, G. Gavazzi, S. Boissier and V. Buat

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 386, issue 2, pages 1157-1168
Published in print May 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13118.x
Ultraviolet dust attenuation in star-forming galaxies – II. Calibrating the A(UV) versus LTIR/LUV relation

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We investigate the dependence of the total-IR (TIR) to ultraviolet (UV) luminosity ratio method for calculating the UV dust attenuation A(UV) from the age of the underlying stellar populations by using a library of spectral energy distributions for galaxies with different star formation histories. Our analysis confirms that the TIR/UV versus A(UV) relation varies significantly with the age of the underlying stellar population: that is, for the same TIR/UV ratio, systems with low specific star formation rate (SSFR) suffer a lower UV attenuation than starbursts. Using a sample of nearby field and cluster spiral galaxies, we show that the use of a standard (i.e. age-independent) TIR/UV versus A(UV) relation leads to a systematic overestimate up to 2 mag of the amount of UV dust attenuation suffered by objects with low SSFR and in particular H i-deficient star-forming cluster galaxies. This result points out that the age-independent TIR/UV versus A(UV) relation cannot be used to study the UV properties of large samples of galaxies including low star-forming systems and passive spirals. Therefore, we give some simple empirical relations from which the UV attenuation can be estimated taking into account its dependence on the age of the stellar populations, providing a less biased view of UV properties of galaxies.

Keywords: galaxies: evolution; galaxies: fundamental parameters; galaxies: general; ultraviolet: galaxies

Journal Article.  9020 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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