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Published December 20, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

BLAST Observations of Resolved Galaxies: Temperature Profiles and the Effect of Active Galactic Nuclei on FIR to Submillimeter Emission


Over the course of two flights, the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST) made resolved maps of seven nearby (<25 Mpc) galaxies at 250, 350, and 500 μm. During its 2005 June flight from Sweden, BLAST observed a single nearby galaxy, NGC 4565. During the 2006 December flight from Antarctica, BLAST observed the nearby galaxies NGC 1097, NGC 1291, NGC 1365, NGC 1512, NGC 1566, and NGC 1808. We fit physical dust models to a combination of BLAST observations and other available data for the galaxies observed by Spitzer. We fit a modified blackbody to the remaining galaxies to obtain total dust mass and mean dust temperature. For the four galaxies with Spitzer data, we also produce maps and radial profiles of dust column density and temperature. We measure the fraction of BLAST detected flux originating from the central cores of these galaxies and use this to calculate a "core fraction," an upper limit on the "active galactic nucleus fraction" of these galaxies. We also find our resolved observations of these galaxies give a dust mass estimate 5-19 times larger than an unresolved observation would predict. Finally, we are able to use these data to derive a value for the dust mass absorption coefficient of κ = 0.29 ± 0.03 m^2 kg^(–1) at 250 μm. This study is an introduction to future higher-resolution and higher-sensitivity studies to be conducted by Herschel and SCUBA-2.

Additional Information

© 2009 American Astronomical Society. Print publication: Issue 2 (2009 December 20); received 2009 July 21; accepted for publication 2009 November 2; published 2009 December 7. The BLAST collaboration acknowledges the support of NASA through grant numbers NAG5-12785, NAG5-13301, and NNGO-6GI11G, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the UK Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council (PPARC). We thank the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) staff for their outstanding work. L.O. acknowledges partial support by the Puerto Rico Space Grant Consortium and by the Fondo Istitucional para la Investigacion of the University of Puerto Rico. C.B.N. acknowledges support from the Canadian Institute forAdvanced Research. This research has been enabled by the use of WestGrid computing resources. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, and has also made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), both of which are operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contracts with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This research also made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at the Centre de Donées astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS), Strasbourg, France.

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