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Study of the Far Infrared Emission of Nearby Spiral Galaxies

Abstract : In my PHD work I explored the links between the physical properties of interstellar dust and other components of nearby spiral galaxies especially their stellar content. I worked on 46 disk galaxies from KINGFISH with IRAC/MIPS/PACS/SPIRE maps (3.6 - 500 microns). A bias is usually introduced in estimating disk orientations by using only a single surface brightness isophote. Thus I devised different surface brightness levels separated by constant steps in surface brightness and extracted isophotes at these levels in all FIR maps as well as in all IRAC 4.5 microns maps. To further assess the coherence of the shapes of isophotes across galactic disks, I built a quantitative indicator of the difference in shape between two ellipses with same center and same semi-major axis.I defined an acceptable level of difference between isophote shapes, by comparing disk orientations found in litterature. Using this level, I found regions inside the galactic disks where the isophotal shapes are similar. From these, I extracted one disk orientation per wavelength band. I found in the vast majority of the disk galaxy maps, be it dominated by stellar or dust emission, that a large fraction of the isophotes I extracted are coherent with the idea of an underlying disk. Comparing, for each galaxy, disk orientations extracted at all wavelengths, I found evidence in 20 galaxies out of 46, that on radial ranges as large as 1/3 of the visible disk (as measured by R25), the shapes of isophotes are morphologically similar. Thus for these 20 galaxies I devised consistent disk orientations both for the stellar and dust content. These 20 galaxies are less luminous, less emitting in the IR w.r.t. the optical, less barred, and characterized by later stage types than average. I also found that the disk orientations devised by my photometric method yield results more similar to H-alpha kinematic orientations than other photometric studies based on a single isophote level.Using the orientations I found and H-alpha dynamics disk orientations, I averaged azimuthally surface brightnesses to produce radial spectral energy distributions (SED) profiles. Once fitted with a cosmic dust emission model, they resulted in radial profiles of dust and stellar content properties. I found the dust intercepted power to be proportionnal to the product of the total dust mass and the average ISRF shining on dust. This former quantity is better correlated with the bolometric stellar luminosity than any of the dust mass or the dust heating ISRF separately. Thus the old stellar populations may be an important heating source for dust. The power intercepted by dust is also very well correlated with the total infrared power. The dust intercepts a larger quantity of power coming from stars in more actively star forming galaxies.Dust exhibit radial mass surface density profiles less well described by Sersic functions than stellar ones. When both profiles are well fitted by Sersic functions, stellar density profiles have smaller half mass radii than the isophotal optical radius (R25) separately in later type galaxies, but also in more quiescent galaxies. Sersic index and half mass radius distributions have larger widths for dust than for stellar surface density profiles.I also found that the ratio of dust over stellar surface density is an important factor to explain the variations with galactic morphological type of the ratio of dust intercepted power over the power emitted by old stellar populations. This later link could be intertwined with spiral structure strength in stage types later than 2.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 10:51:10 AM
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Willie Drouhet. Study of the Far Infrared Emission of Nearby Spiral Galaxies. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013PA112257⟩. ⟨tel-00929963⟩

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