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Radio-emitting dust in the free electron layer of spiral galaxies: Testing the disk/halo interface
Ferrara, A.; Dettmar, R.-J.
AA(Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, US), AB(Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, US)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 427, no. 1, p. 155-159 (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Infrared Astronomy, Interstellar Extinction, Interstellar Gas, Mathematical Models, Radiation Spectra, Spiral Galaxies, Ultraviolet Radiation, Angular Velocity, Dipole Moments, Mie Scattering, Photoelectric Emission, Radiation Pressure, Radio Emission
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We present a study of the radio emission from rotating, charged dust grains immersed in the ionized gas constituting the thick, H alpha-emitting disk of many spiral galaxies. Using up-to-date optical constants, the charge on the grains exposed to the diffuse galactic UV flux has been calculated. An analytical approximation for the grain charge has been derived, which is then used to obtain the grain rotation frequency. Grains are found to have substantial radio emission peaked at a cutoff frequency in the range 10-100 GHz, depending on the grain size distribution and on the efficiency of the radiative damping of the grain rotation. The dust radio emission is compared to the free-free emission from the ionized gas component; some constraints on the magnetic field strength in the observed dusty filaments are also discussed. The model can be used to test the disk/halo interface environment in spiral galaxies, to determine the amount and size distribution of dust in their ionized component, and to investigate the rotation mechanisms for the dust. Numerical estimates are given for experimental purposes.

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