Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 377, 1023-1034 (2001/10-3)
Mapping the interstellar dust with near-infrared observations: An optimized multi-band technique.
LOMBARDI M. and ALVES J.
Abstract (from CDS):
We generalize the technique of Lada et al. (1994ApJ...429..694L
) to map dust column density through a molecular cloud (Nice) to an optimized multi-band technique (Nicer) that can be applied to any multi-band survey of molecular clouds. We present a first application to a ∼625deg2
subset of the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) data and show that when compared to Nice, the optimized Nicer technique (i) achieves the same extinction peak values, (ii) improves the noise variance of the map by a factor of 2 and (iii) is able to reach 3σ dust extinction measurements as low as AV
≃0.5 magnitudes, better than or equivalent to classical optical star count techniques and below the threshold column density for the formation of CO, the brightest H2
tracer in radio-spectroscopy techniques. The application of the Nicer techniques to near-infrared data obtained with a 8 meter-class telescope with a state-of-the-art NIR camera, such as the VLT-ISAAC combination, will be able to achieve dynamic ranges from below 1021
to over 1023
in the range [0.3, 60]) and spatial resolutions <10'', making use of a single and straightforward column density tracer, extinction by interstellar dust.
ISM: clouds - ISM: dust, extinction - ISM: structure - ISM: individual objects: Orion molecular complex, Mon R2 molecular complex - methods: data analysis
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