Analysis of galaxy spectral energy distributions from far-UV to far-IR with CIGALE: studying a SINGS test sample
Institut für Astro- und Teilchenphysik, Universität Innsbruck, Technikerstr. 25/8, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria e-mail: Stefan.Noll@uibk.ac.at
2 Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille-Provence, 38 rue Frédéric Joliot-Curie, 13388 Marseille Cedex 13, France
3 Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, Bât. 121, Université Paris XI, 91405 Orsay, France
4 Departamento de Astrofísica y Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Accepted: 22 August 2009
Aims. Photometric data of galaxies covering the rest-frame wavelength range from far-UV to far-IR make it possible to derive galaxy properties with a high reliability by fitting the attenuated stellar emission and the related dust emission at the same time.
Methods. For this purpose we wrote the code CIGALE (Code Investigating GALaxy Emission) that uses model spectra composed of the Maraston (or PEGASE) stellar population models, synthetic attenuation functions based on a modified Calzetti law, spectral line templates, the Dale & Helou dust emission models, and optional spectral templates of obscured AGN. Depending on the input redshifts, filter fluxes were computed for the model set and compared to the galaxy photometry by carrying out a Bayesian-like analysis. CIGALE was tested by analysing 39 nearby galaxies selected from SINGS. The reliability of the different model parameters was evaluated by studying the resulting expectation values and their standard deviations in relation to the input model grid. Moreover, the influence of the filter set and the quality of photometric data on the code results was estimated.
Results. For up to 17 filters with effective wavelengths between 0.15 and 160 μm, we find robust results for the mass, star formation rate, effective age of the stellar population at 4000 Å, bolometric luminosity, luminosity absorbed by dust, and attenuation in the far-UV. Details of the star formation history (excepting the burst fraction) and the shape of the attenuation curve are difficult to investigate with the available broad-band UV and optical photometric data. A study of the mutual relations between the reliable properties confirms the dependence of star formation activity on morphology in the local Universe and indicates a significant drop in this activity at about 1011 towards higher total stellar masses. The dustiest galaxies in the SINGS sample are present in the same mass range. On the other hand, the far-UV attenuation of our sample galaxies does not appear to show a significant dependence on star formation activity.
Conclusions. The results for our SINGS test sample demonstrate that CIGALE can be a valuable tool for studying basic properties of galaxies in the near and distant Universe if UV-to-IR data are available.
Key words: methods: data analysis / galaxies: fundamental parameters / galaxies: stellar content / galaxies: ISM / ultraviolet: galaxies / infrared: galaxies
© ESO, 2009