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Ultraviolet, Optical, and Infrared Constraints on Models of Stellar Populations and Dust Attenuation

Johnson, Benjamin D. and Schiminovich, David and Seibert, Mark and Treyer, Marie and Martin, D. Christopher and Barlow, Tom A. and Forster, Karl and Friedman, Peter G. and Morrissey, Patrick and Neff, Susan G. and Small, Todd and Wyder, Ted K. and Bianchi, Luciana and Donas, José and Heckman, Timothy M. and Lee, Young-Wook and Madore, Barry F. and Milliard, Bruno and Rich, R. Michael and Szalay, Alex S. and Welsh, Barry Y. and Yi, Sukyoung K. (2007) Ultraviolet, Optical, and Infrared Constraints on Models of Stellar Populations and Dust Attenuation. Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 173 (2). pp. 377-391. ISSN 0067-0049. doi:10.1086/522932.

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The color of galaxies is a fundamental property, easily measured, that constrains models of galaxies and their evolution. Dust attenuation and star formation history (SFH) are the dominant factors affecting the color of galaxies. Here we explore the empirical relation between SFH, attenuation, and color for a wide range of galaxies, including early types. These galaxies have been observed by GALEX, SDSS, and Spitzer, allowing the construction of measures of dust attenuation from the ratio of infrared (IR) to ultraviolet (UV) flux and measures of SFH from the strength of the 4000 Å break. The empirical relation between these three quantities is compared to models that separately predict the effects of dust and SFH on color. This comparison demonstrates the quantitative consistency of these simple models with the data and hints at the power of multiwavelength data for constraining these models. The UV color is a strong constraint; we find that a Milky Way extinction curve is disfavored, and that the UV emission of galaxies with large 4000 Å break strengths is likely to arise from evolved populations. We perform fits to the relation between SFH, attenuation, and color. This relation links the production of starlight and its absorption by dust to the subsequent reemission of the absorbed light in the IR. Galaxy models that self-consistently treat dust absorption and emission as well as stellar populations will need to reproduce these fitted relations in the low-redshift universe.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Seibert, Mark0000-0002-1143-5515
Martin, D. Christopher0000-0002-8650-1644
Forster, Karl0000-0001-5800-5531
Morrissey, Patrick0000-0001-8177-1023
Madore, Barry F.0000-0002-1576-1676
Rich, R. Michael0000-0003-0427-8387
Additional Information:© 2007 American Astronomical Society. Received 2007 February 26; accepted 2007 August 30. The anonymous referee provided extremely useful comments that resulted in substantial improvements to the paper. B. D. J. thanks S. Salim, A. Boselli, S. Boissier, and L. Cortese for helpful comments. B. D. J. was supported by NASA GSRP grant NNG- 05GO43H. GALEX (Galaxy Evolution Explorer) is a NASA Small Explorer, launched in 2003 April. We gratefully acknowledge NASA’s support for construction, operation, and science analysis for the GALEX mission, developed in cooperation with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales of France and the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology. This work is based in part on observationsmade with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. In particular, the publicly available Spitzer data obtained by the SWIRE team have been essential to this work. Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The SDSS Web site is The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions. The Participating Institutions are the American Museum of Natural History, the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, the University of Basel, the University of Cambridge, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Chicago, Drexel University, Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, the Korean Scientist Group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (LAMOST), Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), New Mexico State University, Ohio State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory, and the University of Washington.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory, Space Astrophysics Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Graduate Student Research FellowshipNNG-05GO43H
Subject Keywords:dust, extinction; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: fundamental parameters; infrared: galaxies; ultraviolet: galaxies
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100917-094457903
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Official Citation:Benjamin D. Johnson et al 2007 ApJS 173 377 doi: 10.1086/522932
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:20005
Deposited On:17 Sep 2010 20:32
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:56

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