Letter to the Editor
A Galactic Plane relative extinction map from 2MASS
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 University of Toronto, Dept. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 66 St. George's St., Toronto, Canada
Accepted: 27 January 2005
We present three 14 400 square degree relative extinction maps of the Galactic Plane ( < 20°) obtained from 2MASS using accumulative star counts (Wolf diagrams). This method is independent of the colour of the stars and the variation of extinction with wavelength. Stars were counted in 3´.5 3´.5 boxes, every 20´´. 1° 1° surrounding fields were chosen for reference, hence the maps represent local extinction enhancements and ignore any contribution from the ISM or very large clouds. Data reduction was performed on a Beowulf-type cluster (in approximately 120 hours). Such a cluster is ideal for this type of work as areas of the sky can be independently processed in parallel. We studied how extinction depends on wavelength in all of the high extinction regions detected and within selected dark clouds. On average a power law opacity index (β) of 1.0 to 1.8 in the NIR was deduced. The index however differed significantly from region to region and even within individual dark clouds. That said, generally it was found to be constant, or to increase, with wavelength within a particular region.
Key words: ISM: dust, extinction / infrared: ISM / methods: miscellaneous
© ESO, 2005