EDP Sciences
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Volume 425, Number 1, October I 2004
Page(s) 109 - 120
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20040438

A&A 425, 109-120 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20040438

The emissivity of dust grains in spiral galaxies

P. B. Alton1, E. M. Xilouris2, A. Misiriotis3, K. M. Dasyra4 and M. Dumke5

1  Le Mas Fleuri, 44 chemin des Guiols, 06650 Le Rouret, France
2  National Observatory of Athens, I. Metaxa & Vas. Pavlou str., Palaia Penteli, 15236, Athens, Greece
    e-mail: xilouris@astro.noa.gr
3  University of Crete, Physics Department, PO Box 2208, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
4  Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Postfach 1312, 85741 Garching, Germany
5  Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany

(Received 15 March 2004 / Accepted 17 June 2004)

We use the radiation transfer simulation of Xilouris et al. (1999) to constrain the quantity of dust in three nearby spiral galaxies (NGC 4013, NGC 5907 and NGC 4565). The predicted visual optical depth from the model is compared with the thermal continuum radiation detected from NGC 4013 and NGC 5907 at $850~{\mu}$m and from NGC 4565 at 1.2 mm. The former is based on SCUBA images of NGC 4013 and NGC 5907, reduced and presented for the first time in this work. The comparison of visual optical depth and $850~{\mu}$m (1.2 mm) emission yields the emissivity of dust grains in the submillimeter (millimeter) waveband. We infer a value of $1.2 \times 10^{4}$ for the emissivity at $850~{\mu}$m which is a factor 4 higher than the benchmark, semi-empirical model of Draine & Lee (1984). At 1.2 mm our values are a factor 1.5 higher than this model. Our estimates are more closely aligned with recent measurements carried out in the laboratory on amorphous carbon and silicate particulates. A comparison between the distribution of $850~{\mu}$m (1.2 mm) surface brightness and the intensity levels in the 12CO(1-0) and 21 cm lines underlines the spatial association between dust detected in the submillimeter/millimeter waveband and molecular gas clouds. We suggest that the relatively high emissivity values that we derive may be attributable to amorphous, fluffy grains situated in denser gas environments.

Key words: ISM: dust, extinction -- galaxies: ISM -- galaxies: spiral -- infrared: galaxies -- submillimeter

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