Predicting dust extinction properties of star-forming galaxies from Ha/UV ratio

Yusei Koyama, Tadayuki Kodama, Masao Hayashi, Rhythm Shimakawa, Issei Yamamura, Fumi Egusa, Nagisa Oi, Ichi Tanaka, Ken Ichi Tadaki, Satoshi Takita, Sin'itirou Makiuti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Using star-forming galaxies sample in the nearby Universe (0.02 < z < 0.10) selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (DR7) and Galaxy Evolution Explorer all-sky survey (GR5), we present a new empirical calibration for predicting dust extinction of galaxies from the Hα-to-FUV flux ratio. We find that the Hα dust extinction (A) derived with Hα/Hβ ratio (Balmer decrement) increases with increasing Hα/UV ratio as expected, but there remains a considerable scatter around the relation, which is largely dependent on stellar mass and/or Hα equivalent width (EW). At fixed Hα/UV ratio, galaxies with higher stellar mass (or galaxies with lower EWF) tend to be more highly obscured by dust. We quantify this trend and establish an empirical calibration for predicting A with a combination of Hα/UV ratio, stellar mass, and EW, with which we can successfully reduce the systematic uncertainties accompanying the simple Hα/UV approach by ~15-30 per cent. The new recipes proposed in this study will provide a convenient tool for predicting dust extinction level of galaxies particularly when Balmer decrement is not available. By comparing A (derived with Balmer decrement) and AUV (derived with IR/UV luminosity ratio) for a subsample of galaxies for which AKARI far-infrared photometry is available, we demonstrate that more massive galaxies tend to have higher extra extinction towards the nebular regions compared to the stellar continuum light. Considering recent studies reporting smaller extra extinction towards nebular regions for highredshift galaxies, we argue that the dust geometry within high-redshift galaxies resembles low-mass galaxies in the nearby Universe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-892
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 24
Externally publishedYes


  • Dust, extinction
  • Galaxies: Evolution
  • Galaxies: Star formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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