EAS Publications Series
Volume 56, 2012The Role of the Disk-Halo Interaction in Galaxy Evolution: Outflow vs. Infall?
|Page(s)||291 - 298|
|Section||The Active Disk-Halo Connection: Infall vs. Outflows|
|Published online||17 September 2012|
Miguel A. de Avillez (ed)
EAS Publications Series, 56 (2012) 291–298
Extraplanar Dust in Spiral Galaxies: Tracing Outflows in the Disk-Halo Interface
Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
There is now ample evidence that the interstellar thick disks of spiral galaxies are dusty. Although the majority of extraplanar gas in the first few kiloparsecs above the plane of a spiral galaxy is matter that has been expelled from the thin disk, the feedback-driven expulsion does not destroy dust grains altogether (and there is not yet any good measure suggesting it changes the dust-to-gas mass ratio). Direct optical imaging of a majority of edge-on spiral galaxies shows large numbers of dusty clouds populating the thick disk to heights z ∼ 2 kpc. These observations are likely revealing a cold, dense phase of the thick disk interstellar medium. New observations in the mid-infrared show emission from traditional grains and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the thick disks of spiral galaxies. PAHs are found to have large scale heights and to arise both in the dense dusty clouds traced through direct optical imaging and in the diffuse ionized gas. In this contribution, we briefly summarize these probes of dust in the thick disks of spiral galaxies. We also argue that not only can dust can be used to trace extraplanar material that has come from within the thick disk, but that its absence can be a marker for newly accreted matter from the circumgalactic or intergalactic medium. Thus, observations of dust can perhaps provide a quantitative measure of the importance of “outflow versus infall” in spiral galaxies.
© EAS, EDP Sciences, 2012
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