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Old and young stellar populations in DustPedia galaxies and their role in dust heating

Nersesian, A., Xilouris, E. M., Bianchi, S., Galliano, F., Jones, A. P., Baes, M., Casasola, V., Cassarà, L. P., Clark, C. J. R., Davies, J. I., Decleir, M., Dobbels, W., De Looze, I., De Vis, Pieter, Fritz, J., Galametz, M., Madden, S. C., Mosenkov, A. V., Trcka, A., Verstocken, S., Viaene, S. and Lianou, S. 2019. Old and young stellar populations in DustPedia galaxies and their role in dust heating. Astronomy and Astrophysics 624 , A80. 10.1051/0004-6361/201935118

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Aims. Within the framework of the DustPedia project we investigate the properties of cosmic dust and its interaction with stellar radiation (originating from different stellar populations) for 814 galaxies in the nearby Universe, all observed by the Herschel Space Observatory. Methods. We take advantage of the widely used fitting code CIGALE, properly adapted to include the state-of-the-art dust model THEMIS. For comparison purposes, an estimation of the dust properties is provided by approximating the emission at far-infrared and sub-millimeter wavelengths with a modified blackbody. Using the DustPedia photometry we determine the physical properties of the galaxies, such as the dust and stellar mass, the star-formation rate, the bolometric luminosity, the unattenuated and the absorbed by dust stellar light, for both the old (> 200 Myr) and young (≤200 Myr) stellar populations. Results. We show how the mass of stars, dust, and atomic gas, as well as the star-formation rate and the dust temperature vary between galaxies of different morphologies and provide recipes to estimate these parameters given their Hubble stage (T). We find a mild correlation between the mass fraction of the small a-C(:H) grains with the specific star-formation rate. On average, young stars are very efficient in heating the dust, with absorption fractions reaching as high as ∼77% of the total unattenuated luminosity of this population. On the other hand, the maximum absorption fraction of old stars is ∼24%. Dust heating in early-type galaxies is mainly due to old stars, up to a level of ∼90%. Young stars progressively contribute more for “typical” spiral galaxies and they become the dominant source of dust heating for Sm-type and irregular galaxies, with ∼60% of their luminosity contributing to that purpose. Finally, we find a strong correlation of the dust heating fraction by young stars with morphology and the specific star-formation rate.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: EDP Sciences
ISSN: 0004-6361
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 May 2019
Date of Acceptance: 13 March 2019
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 09:32

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