Using a three dimensional axisymmetric model of stars and dust in NGC 891, we have been able to determine all the parameters that best describe the distribution of stars and dust in this galaxy in the optical and NIR bands.
We have found that NGC 891 would be optically thin in this range of wavelengths if it was to be seen face-on. For the characteristic scales of the galaxy we find : kpc, kpc, kpc (from K to B) and kpc. A second stellar disk with a scaleheight of 0.15 kpc is invoked to describe the young stellar population which is easily seen in this galaxy.
The dust mass calculations as well as the extinction law derived with our model, confirm that NGC 891 is a galaxy very similar to our own.
© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998
Online publication: March 3, 1998