Mid-IR emission of galaxies in the Virgo cluster and in the Coma supercluster.IV. The nature of the dust heating sources - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A Year : 2004

Mid-IR emission of galaxies in the Virgo cluster and in the Coma supercluster.IV. The nature of the dust heating sources

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Abstract

We study the relationship between the mid-IR (5-18 $\\mu$m) emission of late-type galaxies and various other star formation tracers in order to investigate the nature of the dust heating sources in this spectral domain. The analysis is carried out using a sample of 123 normal, late-type, nearby galaxies with available data at several frequencies. The mid-IR luminosity (normalized to the H-band luminosity) correlates better with the far-IR luminosity than with more direct tracers of the young stellar population such as the H$\\alpha$ and the UV luminosity. The comparison of resolved images reveals a remarkable similarity in the H$\\alpha$ and mid-IR morphologies, with prominent HII regions at both frequencies. The mid-IR images, however, show in addition a diffuse emission not associated with HII regions nor with the diffuse H$\\alpha$ emission. This evidence indicates that the stellar population responsible for the heating of dust emitting in the mid-IR is similar to that heating big grains emitting in the far-IR, including relatively evolved stars responsible for the non-ionizing radiation. The scatter in the mid-IR vs. H$\\alpha$, UV and far-IR luminosity relation is mostly due to metallicity effects, with metal-poor objects having a lower mid-IR emission per unit star formation rate than metal-rich galaxies. Our analysis indicates that the mid-IR luminosity is not an optimal star formation tracer in normal, late-type galaxies.

Dates and versions

hal-00011168 , version 1 (11-10-2005)

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A. Boselli, J. Lequeux, G. Gavazzi. Mid-IR emission of galaxies in the Virgo cluster and in the Coma supercluster.IV. The nature of the dust heating sources. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, 2004, 428, pp.409-423. ⟨hal-00011168⟩
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