Measuring the Dust Attenuation Curves of SINGS/KINGFISH Galaxies Using Swift/UVOT Photometry

Alexander Belles, Marjorie Decleir, William P. Bowman, Lea M.Z. Hagen, Caryl Gronwall, Michael Hiram Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present Swift/Ultraviolet Optical Telescope (UVOT) integrated light photometry of the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey (SINGS) and the Key Insights on Nearby Galaxies: A Far-Infrared Survey with Herschel (KINGFISH) samples of nearby galaxies. Combining the Swift/UVOT data with archival photometry, we investigate a variety of dust attenuation curves derived using MCSED, a flexible spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting code. We fit the panchromatic data using three different star formation history (SFH) parameterizations: a decaying exponential, a double power law, and a piecewise function with breaks at physically motivated ages. We find that the average attenuation law of the sample changes slightly based on the SFH assumed. Specifically, the exponential SFH leads to the shallowest attenuation curves. Using simulated data, we also find the exponential SFH fails to outperform the more complex SFHs. Finally, we find a systematic offset in the derived bump strength between SED fits with and without UVOT data, where the inclusion of UVOT data leads to smaller bump strengths, highlighting the importance of the UVOT data. This discrepancy is not seen in fits to mock photometry. Understanding dust attenuation in the local universe is key to understanding high-redshift objects where rest-frame far-infrared data are unavailable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number54
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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