AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 45. Polyatomic Molecules in the Diffuse Interstellar Medium
Display, Tuesday, June 1, 1999, 10:00am-7:00pm, Southwest Exhibit Hall

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[45.01] Extended Red Emission in the Evil Eye Galaxy

A. Majeed, A.N. Witt (U. Toledo), T.A. Boroson (KPNO)

The Evil Eye galaxy (NGC 4826; M64) is distinguished by an asymmetrically placed, strongly absorbing dust lane across its prominent bulge. We obtained a long-slit spectrum (KPNO 4-m; 5000 Å\ to 9500 Å) of NGC 4826, with the slit across the galaxy's nucleus, covering equal parts of the obscured and the unobscured portions of the bulge. By comparing the spectral energy distributions at corresponding positions on the bulge, symmetrically placed with respect to the nucleus, we were able to study the wavelength dependent effects of absorption, scattering, and emission by the dust, as well as the presence of ongoing star formation in the dust lane.

We report the detection of strong extended red emission (ERE) from the dust lane within about 15 arcsec distance from the nucleus of NGC 4826. The ERE band extends from 5400 Å\ to 9400 Å, with a peak near 8800 Å. The integrated ERE intensity is about 75 % of that of the estimated scattered light from the dust lane. The ERE shifts toward longer wavelengths and diminishes in intensity as a region of star formation, located beyong 15 arcsec distance, is approached.

We interpret the ERE as originating in photoluminescence by nanometer-sized clusters, illuminated by the galaxy's radiation field, in addition to the illumination by the star-forming complex within the dust lane. When examined within the context of ERE observations in the diffuse ISM of our Galaxy and in a variety of other dusty environments such as nebulae, we conclude that the ERE photon conversion efficiency in NGC 4826 is as high as found elsewhere, but that the size of the nanoparticles in NGC 4826 is about twice as large as those thought to exist in the diffuse ISM of our Galaxy.

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