Journal Article

Radiative transfer in disc galaxies – IV. The effects of dust attenuation on bulge and disc structural parameters

Dimitri A. Gadotti, Maarten Baes and Sarah Falony

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 403, issue 4, pages 2053-2062
Published in print April 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16243.x
Radiative transfer in disc galaxies – IV. The effects of dust attenuation on bulge and disc structural parameters

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Combining Monte Carlo radiative transfer simulations and accurate 2D bulge/disc decompositions, we present a new study to investigate the effects of dust attenuation on the apparent structural properties of the disc and bulge of spiral galaxies. We find that dust affects the results from such decompositions in ways which cannot be identified when one studies dust effects on bulge and disc components separately. In particular, the effects of dust in galaxies hosting pseudo-bulges might be different from those in galaxies hosting classical bulges, even if their dust content is identical. Confirming previous results, we find that disc scalelengths are overestimated when dust effects are important. In addition, we also find that bulge effective radii and Sérsic indices are underestimated. Furthermore, the apparent attenuation of the integrated disc light is underestimated, whereas the corresponding attenuation of bulge light is overestimated. Dust effects are more significant for the bulge parameters, and, combined, they lead to a strong underestimation of the bulge-to-disc ratio, which can reach a factor of 2 in the V band, even at relatively low galaxy inclinations and dust opacities. Nevertheless, it never reaches factors larger than about 3, which corresponds to a factor of 2 in bulge-to-total ratio. Such effect can have an impact on studies of the black hole/bulge scaling relations.

Keywords: scattering; techniques: photometric; dust, extinction; galaxies: bulges; galaxies: fundamental parameters; galaxies: photometry

Journal Article.  8318 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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