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Paper: Interstellar grains in elliptical galaxies
Volume: 73, Airborne Astronomy Symposium on the Galactic Ecosystem: From Gas to Stars to Dust
Page: 177
Authors: Tsai, John C.; Mathews, William G.
Abstract: We consider the evolution and heating of dust embedded in the hot interstellar medium of isolated elliptical galaxies. We first construct a new set of galaxy models spanning a decade in luminosity which we use to study the evolution of dust as it is ejected by stellar sources, merges and flows with the interstellar gas, and is sputtered away due to the presence of the hot gas. We find that although grains can flow a considerable distance from the parent star in some cases before being sputtering away, the grain size distribution at a given location is accurately determined by assuming in situ sputtering of dust grains as they are ejected by the parent star. We find that dust heating is dominated by absorption of ambient starlight. Heating due to collisions with energetic electrons in the hot gas and absorption of thermal X-rays is smaller by orders of magnitude. We also find that for the largest galaxy considered (LB approximately 10 11 solar luminosity) the energy lost from the hot gas due to electronic collisions with the dust is about an order of magnitude less than that lost due to thermal emission in X-rays. The gas in smaller galaxies loses even less of its energy via heating of grains. In deriving this result, we find that the inclusion of grain sputtering is a crucial ingredient of the calculation. The presence of dust grains is therefore energetically unimportant for elliptical galaxy cooling flow models.
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