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Physics  2009 

Direct evidence of dust growth in L183 from MIR light scattering

DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200912835

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Theoretical arguments suggest that dust grains should grow in the dense cold parts of molecular clouds. Evidence of larger grains has so far been gathered in near/mid infrared extinction and millimeter observations. Interpreting the data is, however, aggravated by the complex interplay of density and dust properties (as well as temperature for thermal emission). We present new Spitzer data of L183 in bands that are sensitive and insensitive to PAHs. The visual extinction AV map derived in a former paper was fitted by a series of 3D Gaussian distributions. For different dust models, we calculate the scattered MIR radiation images of structures that agree agree with the AV map and compare them to the Spitzer data. The Spitzer data of L183 show emission in the 3.6 and 4.5 micron bands, while the 5.8 micron band shows slight absorption. The emission layer of stochastically heated particles should coincide with the layer of strongest scattering of optical interstellar radiation, which is seen as an outer surface on I band images different from the emission region seen in the Spitzer images. Moreover, PAH emission is expected to strongly increase from 4.5 to 5.8 micron, which is not seen. Hence, we interpret this emission to be MIR cloudshine. Scattered light modeling when assuming interstellar medium dust grains without growth does not reproduce flux measurable by Spitzer. In contrast, models with grains growing with density yield images with a flux and pattern comparable to the Spitzer images in the bands 3.6, 4.5, and 8.0 micron.


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