Mapping the Interstellar Dust with Near-Infrared Observations: An Optimized Multi-Band Technique
We generalize Lada et al. (1994) Nice technique to map dust column density through a molecular cloud to an optimized multi-band technique that can be applied to any multi-band survey of molecular clouds. We present a first application to a ~ 625 deg2 subset of the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) data and show that when compared to Nice, the optimized Nicer (i) achieves the same extinction peak values, (ii) improves the noise variance of the map by a factor of 2 and (iii) is able to reach 3σ dust extinction measurements as low as A V ≃ 0.5 magnitudes, better than or equivalent to classical optical star count techniques and below the threshold column density for the formation of CO.
KeywordsMolecular Cloud Column Density Spatial Smoothing Color Excess Color Scatter
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