nicest, a near-infrared color excess method tailored to small-scale structures
European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 University of Milan, Department of Physics, via Celoria 16, 20133 Milan, Italy
Accepted: 16 September 2008
Observational data and theoretical calculations show that significant small-scale substructures are present in dark molecular clouds. These inhomogeneities can provide useful clues to the physical conditions inside the clouds, but can also severely bias extinction measurements. We present nicest, a novel method to account and correct for inhomogeneities in molecular cloud extinction studies. The method, tested against numerical simulations, removes almost completely the biases introduced by sub-pixel structures and by the contamination of foreground stars. We applied nicest to 2MASS data of the Pipe molecular complex. The map thereby obtained shows significantly higher (up to in AK) extinction peaks than the standard nicer (Lombardi & Schneider 2001, A&A, 373, 359) map. This first application confirms that substructures in nearby molecular clouds, if not accounted for, can significantly bias extinction measurements in regions with ; the effect, moreover, is expected to increase in more distant molecular clouds, because of the poorer physical resolution achievable.
Key words: dust, extinction / methods: statistical / ISM: clouds / infrared: ISM / ISM: structure / ISM: individual objects: Pipe molecular complex
© ESO, 2009