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Title: THE DUST ATTENUATION LAW IN DISTANT GALAXIES: EVIDENCE FOR VARIATION WITH SPECTRAL TYPE

This Letter utilizes composite spectral energy distributions (SEDs) constructed from NEWFIRM Medium-Band Survey photometry to constrain the dust attenuation curve in 0.5 < z < 2.0 galaxies. Based on similarities between the full SED shapes (0.3-8 μm), we have divided galaxies in 32 different spectral classes and stacked their photometry. As each class contains galaxies over a range in redshift, the resulting rest-frame SEDs are well sampled in wavelength and show various spectral features including Hα and the UV dust bump at 2175 Å. We fit all composite SEDs with flexible stellar population synthesis models, while exploring attenuation curves with varying slopes and UV bump strengths. The Milky Way and Calzetti law provide poor fits at UV wavelengths for nearly all SEDs. Consistent with previous studies, we find that the best-fit attenuation law varies with spectral type. There is a strong correlation between the best-fit dust slope and UV bump strength, with steeper laws having stronger bumps. Moreover, the attenuation curve correlates with specific star formation rate (SFR), with more active galaxies having shallower dust curves and weaker bumps. There is also a weak correlation with inclination. The observed trends can be explained by differences in the dust-to-star geometry, amore » varying grain size distribution, or a combination of both. Our results have several implications for galaxy evolution studies. First, the assumption of a universal dust model leads to biases in derived galaxy properties. Second, the presence of a dust bump may result in underestimated values for the UV slope, used to correct SFRs of distant galaxies.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Astronomy Department, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)
  2. Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22215470
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 775; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ATTENUATION; COSMIC DUST; DIAGRAMS; ENERGY SPECTRA; GEOMETRY; GRAIN SIZE; MILKY WAY; PHOTOMETRY; RED SHIFT; STARS; VARIATIONS; WAVELENGTHS