The Herschel Virgo Cluster Survey
IX. Dust-to-gas mass ratio and metallicity gradients in four Virgo spiral galaxies
INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi, 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, The Parade, Cardiff, CF24 3AA, UK
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
4 Departamento de Astronomia, Universidad de Chile, Casilla 36-D, Santiago, Chile
5 Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, Alan Turing Building, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
6 Sterrenkundig Observatorium, Universiteit Gent, Krijgslaan 281 S9, 9000 Gent, Belgium
7 Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, UMR 6110 CNRS, 38 rue F. Joliot-Curie, 13388 Marseille, France
8 Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
9 INAF – Istituto di Radioastronomia, via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
10 CAAUL, Observatorio Astronomico de Lisboa, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada de Ajuda, 1349-018 Lisboa, Portugal
11 The Kavli Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PR China
12 Service d’Astrophysique, CEA/Saclay, l’Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Received: 11 March 2011
Accepted: 3 June 2011
Context. Using Herschel data from the open time key project the Herschel Virgo Cluster Survey (HeViCS), we investigated the relationship between the metallicity gradients expressed by metal abundances in the gas phase as traced by the chemical composition of HII regions, and in the solid phase, as traced by the dust-to-gas mass ratio.
Aims. We derived the radial gradient of the dust-to-gas mass ratio for all galaxies observed by HeViCS whose metallicity gradients are available in the literature. They are all late type Sbc galaxies, namely NGC 4254, NGC 4303, NGC 4321, and NGC 4501.
Methods. We fitted PACS and SPIRE observations with a single-temperature modified blackbody, inferred the dust mass, and calculated two dimensional maps of the dust-to-gas mass ratio, with the total mass of gas from available HI and CO maps. HI moment-1 maps were used to derive the geometric parameters of the galaxies and extract the radial profiles. We examined different dependencies on metallicity of the CO-to-H2 conversion factor (XCO), used to transform the 12CO observations into the amount of molecular hydrogen.
Results. We found that in these galaxies the dust-to-gas mass ratio radial profile is extremely sensitive to choice of the XCO value, since the molecular gas is the dominant component in the inner parts. We found that for three galaxies of our sample, namely NGC 4254, NGC 4321, and NGC 4501, the slopes of the oxygen and of the dust-to-gas radial gradients agree up to ~0.6−0.7 R25 using XCO values in the range 1/3−1/2 Galactic XCO. For NGC 4303 a lower value of XCO ~ 0.1 × 1020 is necessary.
Conclusions. We suggest that such low XCO values might be due to a metallicity dependence of XCO (from close to linear for NGC 4254, NGC 4321, and NGC 4501 to superlinear for NGC 4303), especially in the radial regions RG < 0.6−0.7 R25 where the molecular gas dominates. On the other hand, the outer regions, where the atomic gas component is dominant, are less affected by the choice of XCO, and thus we cannot put constraints on its value there.
Key words: galaxies: spiral / galaxies: abundances / submillimeter: galaxies / galaxies: ISM / dust, extinction
© ESO, 2011