Journal Article

The effect of dust extinction on the observed properties of galaxies in the near-infrared

Ihab F. Riad, Renée C. Kraan-Korteweg and Patrick A. Woudt

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 401, issue 2, pages 924-932
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.15740.x
The effect of dust extinction on the observed properties of galaxies in the near-infrared

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Galaxies behind the Milky Way suffer size reduction and dimming due to their obscuration by dust in the disc of our Galaxy. The degree of obscuration is wavelength dependent. It decreases towards longer wavelengths. Compared to the optical, the near-infrared (NIR) Ks-band extinction is only ≈10 per cent that of the B band. This makes NIR surveys well suited for galaxy surveys close to the Galactic plane, where extinction is severe.

While Galactic obscuration is less prominent in the NIR, it is not negligible. In this paper, we derive empirical relations to correct isophotal radii and magnitudes of galaxies observed in the NIR for foreground absorption. We simulate extinction in the J, H and Ks bands on 64 (unobscured) galaxies from the Two Micron All Sky Survey Large Galaxy Atlas. We propose two methods for the extinction correction, the first is optimized to provide the most accurate correction and the second provides a convenient statistical correction that works adequately in lower extinction regions. The optimized correction utilizes the galaxy surface brightness, either the disc central surface brightness, μ0, or the combined disc plus bulge central surface brightness, elliptical and disc/spiral Hubble types. A detailed comparison between the different methods and their accuracy is provided.

Keywords: dust, extinction; galaxies: photometry; infrared: galaxies

Journal Article.  4697 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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