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Astron. Astrophys. 335, 53-68 (1998)

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Mid-IR emission of galaxies in the Virgo cluster

II. Integrated properties *

A. Boselli 1, J. Lequeux 2, M. Sauvage 3, O. Boulade 3, F. Boulanger 4, D. Cesarsky 4, C. Dupraz 5, S. Madden 3, F. Viallefond 2 and L. Vigroux 3

1 Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale, Traverse du Siphon, BP 8, F-13376 Marseille Cedex 12, France
2 Observatoire de Paris, 61 Av. de l'Observatoire, F-75014 Paris, France
3 Service d'Astrophysique, Centre d'Etudes de Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
4 Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, Bat. 121, Université Paris-Sud, F-91405 Orsay, France
5 Radioastronomie, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 24 Rue Lhomond, F-75231 Paris Cedex 05, France

Received 5 December 1997 / Accepted 25 March 1998

Abstract

We analyse the integrated properties of the Mid-IR emission of a complete, optically selected sample of galaxies in the Virgo cluster observed with the ISOCAM instrument on board the ISO satellite. The ISOCAM data allows us to construct the luminosity distribution at 6.75 and 15 µm of galaxies for different morphological classes. These data are used to study the spectral energy distribution of galaxies of different type and luminosity in the wavelength range 2000 Å - 100 µm. The analysis shows that the Mid-IR emission up to 15 µm of optically-selected, normal early-type galaxies (E, S0 and S0a) is dominated by the Rayleigh-Jeans tail of the cold stellar component. The Mid-IR emission of late-type galaxies is instead dominated by the thermal emission from dust. As in the Milky Way, the small dust grains emitting in the Mid-IR have an excess of emission if compared to big grains emitting in the Far-IR. While the Far-IR emission of galaxies increases with the intensity of the interstellar radiation field, their Mid-IR emission is non-linearly related to the UV radiation field. The spectral energy distributions of the target galaxies indicate that there is a linear relationship between the UV radiation field and the Mid-IR emission of galaxies for low or intermediate activities of star formation, while the emission from the hot dust seems to drop for strong UV fields. The Mid-IR colour of late-type galaxies is not related to their activity of star formation.

The properties of the dust emission in the Mid-IR seem more related to the mass than to the morphological type of the target galaxy. Since the activity of star formation is anticorrelated to the mass of galaxies, this reflects a relationship between the emission of dust in the Mid-IR and the UV radiation field: galaxies with the lowest Mid-IR emission for a given UV field are low mass, dwarf galaxies. These observational evidences are easily explained if the carriers of the Unidentified Infrared Bands that dominate the 6.75 µm emission are destroyed by the intense UV radiation field of dwarf galaxies, although abundance effects can also play a role.

Key words: galaxies: general – galaxies: ISM – galaxies: spiral – infrared: galaxies – infrared: ISM: continuum

* Based on observations with ISO, an ESA project with instruments founded by ESA member states (especially the PI countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) and with participation of ISAS and NASA

Send offprint requests to: A. Boselli, (boselli@astrsp-mrs.fr)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: June 12, 1998

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