Modelling the dust content of spiral galaxies: More dust mass vs. enhanced dust grain emissivity

Research paper by K. M. Dasyra, E. M. Xilouris, A. Misiriotis, N. D. Kylafis

Indexed on: 04 Jan '05Published on: 04 Jan '05Published in: Astrophysics


We present detailed modelling of the spectral energy distribution (SED) of the spiral galaxies NGC 891, NGC 4013, and NGC 5907 in the far-infrared (FIR) and sub-millimeter (submm) wavelengths. The model takes into account the emission of the diffuse dust component, which is heated by the UV and optical radiation fields produced by the stars, as well as the emission produced locally in star forming HII complexes. The radiative transfer simulations of Xilouris et al. (1999) in the optical bands are used to constrain the stellar and dust geometrical parameters, as well as the total amount of dust. We find that the submm emission predicted by our model can not account for the observed fluxes at these wavelengths. We examine two cases, one having more dust embedded in a second thin disk and another allowing for an enhanced submillimeter emissivity of the dust grains. We argue that both cases can equally well reproduce the observed SED. The case of having more dust embedded in a second disk though, is not supported by the near-infrared observations and thus more realistic distributions of the dust (i.e., in spiral arms and clumps) have to be examined in order to better fit the surface brightness of each galaxy.