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Published September 10, 2008 | Published
Journal Article Open

Dust emission from the Perseus molecular cloud


Using far-infrared emission maps taken by IRAS and Spitzer and a near-infrared extinction map derived from 2MASS data, we have made dust temperature and column density maps of the Perseus molecular cloud. We show that the emission from transiently heated very small grains (VSGs) and the big grain dust emissivity vary as a function of extinction and dust temperature, with higher dust emissivities for colder grains. This variable emissivity cannot be explained by temperature gradients along the line of sight or by noise in the emission maps, but it is consistent with grain growth in the higher density and lower temperature regions. By accounting for the variations in the dust emissivity and VSG emission, we are able to map the temperature and column density of a nearby molecular cloud with better accuracy than has previously been possible.

Additional Information

© 2008 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2007 April 19; accepted 2008 May 19. We would like to thank our anonymous referee for substantially improving the scope and clarity of this paper. Scott Schnee acknowledges support from the Owens Valley Radio Observatory, which is supported by the National Science Foundation through grant AST 05-40399. Alyssa Goodman acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation under grant AST-0407172.

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