EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 494, Number 2, February I 2009
Page(s) 647 - 661
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200810968
Published online 04 December 2008
A&A 494, 647-661 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200810968

A spatially resolved study of photoelectric heating and [C II] cooling in the LMC

Comparison with dust emission as seen by SAGE
D. Rubin1, S. Hony1, S. C. Madden1, A. G. G. M Tielens2, M. Meixner3, R. Indebetouw4, W. Reach5, A. Ginsburg6, S. Kim7, K. Mochizuki8, B. Babler9, M. Block10, S. B. Bracker9, C. W. Engelbracht10, B.-Q. For10, K. Gordon10, J. L. Hora11, C. Leitherer3, M. Meade9, K. Misselt10, 
M. Sewilo3, U. Vijh3, and B. Whitney12

1  Service d'Astrophysique, CEA/Saclay, l'Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
    e-mail: Sacha.Hony@cea.fr
2  Kapteyn Institute, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
3  Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Way, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
4  Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, PO Box 3818, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA
5  Spitzer Science Center, California Institute of Technology, 220-6, Pasadena, CA, 91125, USA
6  Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
7  Dept. of Astronomy & Space Science, Sejong University, KwangJin-gu, KunJa-dong 98, Seoul, 143-747, Korea
8  Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Yoshinodai 3-1-1, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 229, Japan
9  University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA
10  Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719, Steward Observatory, USA
11  Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St., MS 67, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
12  Space Science Institute, 308 Morningside Ave., Madison, WI 53716, USA

received 16 September 2008/ Accepted 25 November 2008

Context. Photoelectric heating is a dominant heating mechanism for many phases of the interstellar medium. We study this mechanism throughout the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).
Aims. We aim to quantify the importance of the [C II] cooling line and the photoelectric heating process of various environments in the LMC and to investigate which parameters control the extent of photoelectric heating.
Methods. We use the BICE [C II] map and the Spitzer/SAGE infrared maps. We examine the spatial variations in the efficiency of photoelectric heating: photoelectric heating rate over power absorbed by grains, i.e. the observed [C II] line strength over the integrated infrared emission. We correlate the photoelectric heating efficiency and the emission from various dust constituents and study the variations as a function of H$\alpha$ emission, dust temperatures, and the total infrared luminosity. The observed variations are interpreted in a theoretical framework. From this we estimate radiation field, gas temperature, and electron density.
Results. We find systematic variations in photoelectric efficiency. The highest efficiencies are found in the diffuse medium, while the lowest coincide with bright star-forming regions (~1.4 times lower). The [C II] line emission constitutes 1.32% of the far infrared luminosity across the whole of the LMC. We find correlations between the [C II] emission and ratios of the mid infrared and far infrared bands, which comprise various dust constituents. The correlations are interpreted in light of the spatial variations of the dust abundance and by the local environmental conditions that affect the dust emission properties. As a function of the total infrared surface brightness, $S_{\rm TIR}$, the [C II] surface brightness can be described as: $S_{\rm [\ion{C}{ii}]}$ = 1.25 $S_{\rm TIR}^{0.69}$ [ 10-3 erg s-1 cm-2 sr-1] , for $S_{\rm TIR}$ $\ga$ 3.2 $\times$ 10-4 erg s-1 cm-2 sr-1. We provide a simple model of the photoelectric efficiency as a function of the total infrared luminosity. We find a power-law relation between radiation field and electron density, consistent with other studies. The [C II] emission is well-correlated with the 8 $\mu$m emission, suggesting that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons play a dominant role in the photoelectric heating process.

Key words: galaxies: Magellanic Clouds -- ISM: dust, extinction -- infrared: galaxies -- ISM: lines and bands

© ESO 2009