Infrared Observations of the Spiral Galaxy NGC 891

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Whaley, Cynthia
Astronomy , Galaxy , NGC 891 , PAHs
This thesis is a detailed, multi-waveband study of the inner 14 kpc of the famous spiral galaxy, NCG 891. The primary data have come from the Infrared Space Observatory's Camera. These data are images of the galaxy in 9 different mid-infrared wavebands. We have supported these data with archived data from the Spitzer Infrared Array Camera in 4 similar wavebands. Surface brightness contour maps of the galaxy were created and examined to determine where the mid-infrared emitters are located with respect to the galactic plane. We have determined that the main mid-infrared emission, due to warm dust and PAHs, lies in a thin disk of width 700 - 800 pc, but has faint emission that reaches up to about 2.3 kpc into the halo. The infrared spectral energy distribution (SED) for four environments in NGC 891 were created from the above mentioned wavebands as well as measurements from Spitzer's Multiband Imaging Photometer (3 Far-Infrared wavebands), the Two Micron All Sky Survey J, H, and K near-infrared wavebands, and the Sub-millimeter Common User Bolometer Array 450 and 850 $\mu$m bands. These spectra were fit with a SED model created by Frederic Galliano, and the physical properties of these environments were computed. The maps and SED show that while there is a relatively large amount of dust in NGC 891's halo, there is a depletion of PAHs beyond 2.3 kpc from the mid-plane. This is only the fourth galaxy to date that has PAH emission discovered in the halo, and it is the first in which the SED has been modeled for the halo.
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