Friday, January 11, 2013

1301.2178 (Tom Into et al.)

New Colour-Mass to Light Relations: the role of the Asymptotic Giant Branch phase and of interstellar dust    [PDF]

Tom Into, Laura Portinari
Colour-M/L (mass-to-light) relations are a popular recipe to derive stellar mass in external galaxies. Stellar mass estimates often rely on near infrared (NIR) photometry, considered an optimal tracer since it is little affected by dust and by the "frosting" effect of recent star formation episodes. However, recent literature has highlighted that theoretical estimates of the NIR M/L ratio strongly depend on the modelling of the Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) phase. We use the latest Padova isochrones, with detailed modelling of the Thermally Pulsing AGB phase, to update theoretical colour-M/L relations in the optical and NIR and discuss the consequences for the estimated stellar masses in external galaxies. We also discuss the effect of attenuation by interstellar dust on colour-M/L relations in the statistical case of large galaxy samples.
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