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Astrophys J. 1990 Jan 20;349(1):107-19.

Studies of dust grain properties in infrared reflection nebulae.

Author information

1
NASA Ames Research Center, USA.
2
ARC

Abstract

We have developed a model for reflection nebulae around luminous infrared sources embedded in dense dust clouds. The aim of this study is to determine the sizes of the scattering grains. In our analysis, we have adopted an MRN-like power-law size distribution (Mathis, Rumpl, and Nordsieck) of graphite and silicate grains, but other current dust models would give results which were substantially the same. In the optically thin limit, the intensity of the scattered light is proportional to the dust column density, while in the optically thick limit, it reflects the grain albedo. The results show that the shape of the infrared spectrum is the result of a combination of the scattering properties of the dust, the spectrum of the illuminating source, and foreground extinction, while geometry plays a minor role. Comparison of our model results with infrared observations of the reflection nebula surrounding OMC-2/IRS 1 shows that either a grain size distribution like that found in the diffuse interstellar medium, or one consisting of larger grains, can explain the observed shape of the spectrum. However, the absolute intensity level of the scattered light, as well as the observed polarization, requires large grains (approximately 5000 angstroms). By adding water ice mantles to the silicate and graphite cores, we have modeled the 3.08 micrometers ice band feature, which has been observed in the spectra of several infrared reflection nebulae. We show that this ice band arises naturally in optically thick reflection nebulae containing ice-coated grains. We show that the shape of the ice band is diagnostic of the presence of large grains, as previously suggested by Knacke and McCorkle. Comparison with observations of the BN/KL reflection nebula in the OMC-1 cloud shows that large ice grains (approximately 5000 angstroms) contribute substantially to the scattered light.

PMID:
11538693
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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