Mid-infrared luminosity as an indicator of the total infrared luminosity of galaxies

Research paper by T. T. Takeuchi, V. Buat, J. Iglesias-Paramo, A. Boselli, D. Burgarella

Indexed on: 09 Feb '05Published on: 09 Feb '05Published in: Astrophysics


The infrared (IR) emission plays a crucial role for understanding the star formation in galaxies hidden by dust. We first examined four estimators of the IR luminosity of galaxies, L_fir (Helou et al. 1988), L_tir (Dale et al. 2001), revised version of L_tir (Dale & Helou 2002) (we denote L_tir2), and L_ir (Sanders & Mirabel 1996) by using the observed SEDs of well-known galaxies. We found that L_ir provides excellent estimates of the total IR luminosity for a variety of galaxy SEDs. The performance of L_tir2 was also found to be very good. Using L_ir, we then statistically analyzed the IRAS PSCz galaxy sample (Saunders et al. 2000) and found useful formulae relating the MIR monochromatic luminosities [L(12um) and L(25um)], and L_ir. For this purpose we constructed a subsample of 1420 galaxies with all IRAS four band (12, 25, 60, and 100um) flux densities. We found linear relations between L_ir and MIR luminosities, L(12um) and L(25um). The prediction error with 95-% confidence level is a factor of 4-5. Hence, these formulae are useful for the estimation of the total IR luminosity only from 12um or 25um observations. We further tried to make an `interpolation' formula for galaxies at 0<z<1. For this purpose we construct the formula of the relation between 15-um luminosity and the total IR luminosity. We conclude that the 15-um formula can be used as an estimator of the total IR luminosity from 24um observation of galaxies at z \simeq 0.6.