Journal Article

Effects of dust abundance on the far-infrared colours of blue compact dwarf galaxies

Hiroyuki Hirashita and Tomohiro T. Ichikawa

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 396, issue 1, pages 500-510
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.14726.x
Effects of dust abundance on the far-infrared colours of blue compact dwarf galaxies

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We investigate the far-infrared (FIR) properties of a sample of blue compact dwarf galaxies (BCDs) observed by AKARI. By utilizing the data at wavelengths of λ= 65, 90 and 140 μm, we find that the FIR colours of the BCDs are located at the natural high-temperature extension of those of the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds. This implies that the optical properties of dust in BCDs are similar to those in the Milky Way. Indeed, we explain the FIR colours by assuming the same grain optical properties, which may be appropriate for amorphous dust grains, and the same size distribution as those adopted for the Milky Way dust. Since both interstellar radiation field and dust optical depth affect the dust temperature, it is difficult to distinguish which of these two physical properties is responsible for the change of FIR colours. Then, in order to examine if the dust optical depth plays an important role in determining the dust temperature, we investigate the correlation between FIR colour (dust temperature) and dust-to-gas ratio. We find that the dust temperature tends to be high as the dust-to-gas ratio decreases but that this trend cannot be explained by the effect of dust optical depth. Rather, it indicates a correlation between dust-to-gas ratio and interstellar radiation field. Although the metallicity may also play a role in this correlation, we suggest that the dust optical depth could regulate the star formation activities, which govern the interstellar radiation field. We also mention the importance of submillimetre data in tracing the emission from highly shielded low-temperature dust.

Keywords: dust, extinction; galaxies: dwarf; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: ISM; infrared: galaxies

Journal Article.  8793 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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