Astronomy and Astrophysics Letters dedicated to ISO

The Mid-Infrared Color of NGC 6946

G. Helou - S. Malhotra, - C. A. Beichman - H. Dinerstein - D. J. Hollenbach - D. A. Hunter - K. Y. Lo - S. D. Lord - N. Y. Lu - R. H. Rubin - G. J. Stacey - H. A. Thronson Jr. - M. W. Werner


We analyze the new mid-infrared maps of NGC 6946 for variations in the color ratio of the 7-to-15 micron emission. Our preliminary findings are that this mid-infrared color is remarkably constant between arms and inter-arm regions, and as a function of radius in the disk, excluding the nuclear region. As surface brightness ranges by more than an order of magnitude and the radius runs from about 0.5 to 3kpc, the color ratio remains constant to about ±20%. Our interpretation is that (1) hard UV radiation from OB stars does not dominate the heating of the grains radiating in the mid-infrared; and (2) that surface brightness variations are driven primarily by surface-filling fraction in the disk, and by radiation intensity increases in starburst environments, such as the nucleus of NGC 6946.

Galaxies: individual: NGC 6946 - Infrared: Galaxies - Galaxies: ISM

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