3 years ago

The Optical/Near-Infrared Extinction Law In Highly Reddened Regions.

A.M. Ghez, J. Anderson, M.W. Hosek Jr, S.M. Albers, W.I. Clarkson, J.R. Lu, M.R. Morris, E.F. Schlafly, T. Do

A precise extinction law is a critical input when interpreting observations of highly reddened sources such as young star clusters and the Galactic Center (GC). We use Hubble Space Telescope observations of a region of moderate extinction and a region of high extinction to measure the optical and near-infrared extinction law (0.8 $\mu$m -- 2.2 $\mu$m). The moderate extinction region is the young massive cluster Westerlund 1 (Wd1; A$_{Ks} \sim$ 0.6 mag), where 453 proper motion-selected main-sequence stars are used to measure the shape of the extinction law. To quantify the shape we define the parameter $\mathcal{S}_{1/\lambda}$, which behaves similarly to a color excess ratio but is continuous as a function of wavelength. The high extinction region is the GC (A$_{Ks} \sim$ 2.5 mag), where 819 red clump stars are used to determine the normalization of the law. The best-fit extinction law is able to reproduce the Wd1 main sequence colors, which previous laws misestimate by 10%-30%. The law is inconsistent with a single power law, even when only the near-infrared filters are considered, and has A$_{F125W}$/A$_{Ks}$ and A$_{F814W}$/A$_{Ks}$ values that are 18% and 24% larger than the commonly used \citet{Nishiyama:2009fc} law, respectively. Using the law we recalculate the Wd1 distance to be 3896 $\pm$ 328 pc from published observations of eclipsing binary W13. This new extinction law should be used for highly reddened populations in the Milky Way, such as the Quintuplet cluster and Young Nuclear Cluster. A python code is provided to generate the law for future use.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.08574

DOI: arXiv:1801.08574v1

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