Ultraviolet extinction toward a quiescent molecular cloud in the Small Magellanic Cloud

Maíz Apellániz, J.; Rubio, M.
Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 541, id.A54, 10 pp. (2012).


Context. The mean UV extinction law for the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) is usually taken as a template for low-metallicity galaxies. However, its current derivation is based on only five stars, which renders its universality questionable. More targets with measured extinction laws in the SMC are necessary to determine its possible dependence on parameters such as metallicity and star-forming activity.
Aims: We aim to measure the UV extinction law for several stars in the quiescent molecular cloud SMC B1-1.
Methods: We obtained HST/STIS slitless UV spectroscopy of a 25'' × 25'' field of view and combined it with ground-based NIR and visible photometry of the stars in the field. The results were processed using the Bayesian photometric package CHORIZOS to derive the visible-NIR extinction values for each star. The unextinguished spectral energy distributions (SEDs) obtained in this way were then used to derive the UV extinction law for the four most extinguished stars. We also recalculated the visible-NIR extinction for the five SMC stars with preexisting UV extinction laws.
Results: The UV extinction law for four SMC B1-1 stars that are situated within several pc of each other differs significantly from star to star. The 2175 Å bump is moderately strong in one, weak in two, and absent in the fourth.