PHANGS-JWST First Results: Mapping the 3.3 μm Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Vibrational Band in Nearby Galaxies with NIRCam Medium Bands

Karin M. Sandstrom, Jérémy Chastenet, Jessica Sutter, Adam K. Leroy, Oleg V. Egorov, Thomas G. Williams, Alberto D. Bolatto, Médéric Boquien, Yixian Cao, Daniel A. Dale, Janice C. Lee, Erik Rosolowsky, Eva Schinnerer, Ashley T. Barnes, Francesco Belfiore, F. Bigiel, Mélanie Chevance, Kathryn Grasha, Brent Groves, Hamid HassaniAnnie Hughes, Ralf S. Klessen, J. M.Diederik Kruijssen, Kirsten L. Larson, Daizhong Liu, Laura A. Lopez, Sharon E. Meidt, Eric J. Murphy, Mattia C. Sormani, David A. Thilker, Elizabeth J. Watkins

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17 Citations (Scopus)


We present maps of the 3.3 μm polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emission feature in NGC 628, NGC 1365, and NGC 7496 as observed with the Near-Infrared Camera imager on JWST from the PHANGS-JWST Cycle 1 Treasury project. We create maps that isolate the 3.3 μm PAH feature in the F335M filter (F335MPAH) using combinations of the F300M and F360M filters for removal of starlight continuum. This continuum removal is complicated by contamination of the F360M by PAH emission and variations in the stellar spectral energy distribution slopes between 3.0 and 3.6 μm. We modify the empirical prescription from Lai et al. to remove the starlight continuum in our highly resolved galaxies, which have a range of starlight- and PAH-dominated lines of sight. Analyzing radially binned profiles of the F335MPAH emission, we find that between 5% and 65% of the F335M intensity comes from the 3.3 μm feature within the inner 0.5 r 25 of our targets. This percentage systematically varies from galaxy to galaxy and shows radial trends within the galaxies related to each galaxy’s distribution of stellar mass, interstellar medium, and star formation. The 3.3 μm emission is well correlated with the 11.3 μm PAH feature traced with the MIRI F1130W filter, as is expected, since both features arise from C-H vibrational modes. The average F335MPAH/F1130W ratio agrees with the predictions of recent models by Draine et al. for PAHs with size and charge distributions shifted toward larger grains with normal or higher ionization.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL7
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


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