Parameterizing the interstellar dust temperature

S. Hocuk, L. Szucs, P. Caselli, S. Cazaux, M. Spaans, G. B. Esplugues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The temperature of interstellar dust particles is of great importance to astronomers. It plays a crucial role in the thermodynamics of interstellar clouds, because of the gas-dust collisional coupling. It is also a key parameter in astrochemical studies that governs the rate at which molecules form on dust. In 3D (magneto)hydrodynamic simulations often a simple expression for the dust temperature is adopted, because of computational constraints, while astrochemical modelers tend to keep the dust temperature constant over a large range of parameter space. Our aim is to provide an easy-to-use parametric expression for the dust temperature as a function of visual extinction (AV) and to shed light on the critical dependencies of the dust temperature on the grain composition. We obtain an expression for the dust temperature by semi-analytically solving the dust thermal balance for different types of grains and compare to a collection of recent observational measurements. We also explore the effect of ices on the dust temperature. Our results show that a mixed carbonaceous-silicate type dust with a high carbon volume fraction matches the observations best. We find that ice formation allows the dust to be warmer by up to 15% at high optical depths (AV> 20 mag) in the interstellar medium. Our parametric expression for the dust temperature is presented as Td = [11 + 5.7 × tanh(0.61 - log 10(AV)]χuv 1/5.9, where χuv is in units of the Draine (1978, ApJS, 36, 595) UV field.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA58
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Volume604
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Astrochemistry
  • Dust, extinction
  • Methods: analytical
  • Opacity
  • Radiative transfer

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