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Published December 2015 | Published
Journal Article Open

Galactic cold cores. VI. Dust opacity spectral index


Context. The Galactic Cold Cores project has carried out Herschel photometric observations of 116 fields where the Planck survey has found signs of cold dust emission. The fields contain sources in different environments and different phases of star formation. Previous studies have revealed variations in their dust submillimetre opacity. Aims. The aim is to measure the value of dust opacity spectral index and to understand its variations spatially and with respect to other parameters, such as temperature, column density, and Galactic location. Methods. The dust opacity spectral index β and the dust colour temperature T are derived using Herschel and Planck data. The relation between β and T is examined for the whole sample and inside individual fields. Results. Based on IRAS and Planck data, the fields are characterised by a median colour temperature of 16.1 K and a median opacity spectral index of β = 1.84. The values are not correlated with Galactic longitude. We observe a clear T–β anti-correlation. In Herschel observations, constrained at lower resolution by Planck data, the variations follow the column density structure and β_(FIR) can rise to ~2.2 in individual clumps. The highest values are found in starless clumps. The Planck 217 GHz band shows a systematic excess that is not restricted to cold clumps and is thus consistent with a general flattening of the dust emission spectrum at millimetre wavelengths. When fitted separately below and above 700 μm, the median spectral index values are β_(FIR) ~ 1.91 and β(mm) ~ 1.66. Conclusions. The spectral index changes as a function of column density and wavelength. The comparison of different data sets and the examination of possible error sources show that our results are robust. However, β variations are partly masked by temperature gradients and the changes in the intrinsic grain properties may be even greater.

Additional Information

© 2015 ESO. Article published by EDP Sciences. Received 4 November 2014; Accepted 20 August 2015; Published online 26 November 2015. Planck http://www.esa.int/Planck is a project of the European Space Agency – ESA – with instruments provided by two scientific consortia funded by ESA member states (in particular the lead countries: France and Italy) with contributions from NASA (USA), and telescope reflectors provided in a collaboration between ESA and a scientific consortium led and funded by Denmark. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA. This research made use of Montage, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Earth Science Technology Office, Computational Technologies Project, under Cooperative Agreement Number NCC5-626 between NASA and the California Institute of Technology. The code is maintained by the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive. M.J., V.M.P., and J.M.a acknowledge the support of the Academy of Finland Grant No. 250741. M.J. acknowledges the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées (OMP) in Toulouse for its support for a 2 months stay at IRAP in the frame of the "OMP visitor programme 2014". A.H. acknowledges support from the Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) and funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) via grants SCHI 536/5-1 and SCHI 536/7-1 as part of the priority program SPP 1573 "ISM-SPP: Physics of the Interstellar Medium". A.R.-I. acknowledges support from the ESA Research Fellowship Programme.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023