Pa, H, and Attenuation in NGC 5194 and NGC 6946

Sarah Kessler, Adam Leroy, Miguel Querejeta, Eric Murphy, David Rebolledo, Karin Sandstrom, Eva Schinnerer, Tony Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We combine Hubble Space Telescope Paschen (Pa) imaging with ground-based, previously published H maps to estimate the attenuation affecting H, A(H), across the nearby, face-on galaxies NGC 5194 and NGC 6946. We estimate A(H) in 2000 independent 2 75 pc diameter apertures in each galaxy, spanning out to a galactocentric radius of almost 10 kpc. In both galaxies, A(H) drops with radius, with a bright, high-attenuation inner region, though in detail the profiles differ between the two galaxies. Regions with the highest attenuation-corrected H luminosity show the highest attenuation, but the observed H luminosity of a region is not a good predictor of attenuation in our data. Consistent with much previous work, the IR-to-H color does a good job of predicting A(H). We calculate the best-fit empirical coefficients for use combining H with 8, 12, 24, 70, or 100 μm to correct for attenuation. These agree well with previous work, but we also measure significant scatter around each of these linear relations. The local atomic plus molecular gas column density, N(H), also predicts A(H) well. We show that a screen with magnitude 0.2 times that expected for a Milky Way gas-to-dust value does a reasonable job of explaining A(H) as a function of N(H). This could be expected if only 40% of gas and dust directly overlap regions of H emission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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