Volume 532, August 2011
|Number of page(s)
|Interstellar and circumstellar matter
|20 July 2011
Dust coagulation and fragmentation in molecular clouds
II. The opacity of the dust aggregate size distribution
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
2 Astronomical Institute Utrecht, Utrecht University, PO Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
3 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
4 Sterrenkundig Instituut Anton Pannekoek, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Received: 10 April 2011
Accepted: 14 June 2011
The dust size distribution in molecular clouds can be strongly affected by ice-mantle formation and (subsequent) grain coagulation. Following previous work where the dust size distribution has been calculated from a state-of-the art collision model for dust aggregates that involves both coagulation and fragmentation (Paper I), the corresponding opacities are presented in this study. The opacities are calculated by applying the effective medium theory assuming that the dust aggregates are a mix of 0.1 μm silicate and graphite grains and vacuum. In particular, we explore how the coagulation affects the near-IR opacities and the opacity in the 9.7 μm silicate feature. We find that as dust aggregates grow to μm-sizes both the near-IR color excess and the opacity in the 9.7 μm feature increases. Despite their coagulation, porous aggregates help to prolong the presence of the 9.7 μm feature. We find that the ratio between the opacity in the silicate feature and the near-IR color excess becomes lower with respect to the ISM, in accordance with many observations of dark clouds. However, this trend is primarily a result of ice mantle formation and the mixed material composition of the aggregates, rather than being driven by coagulation. With stronger growth, when most of the dust mass resides in particles of size ~10 μm or larger, both the near-IR color excess and the 9.7 μm silicate feature significantly diminish. Observations at additional wavelengths, in particular in the sub-mm range, are essential to provide quantitative constraints on the dust size distribution within dense cores. Our results indicate that the sub-mm index β will increase appreciably, if aggregates grow to ~100 μm in size.
Key words: dust, extinction / ISM: clouds / stars: formation / methods: numerical
© ESO, 2011
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