Variation of the ultraviolet extinction law across the Taurus-Auriga star-forming complex. A GALEX based study

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The Taurus-Aurigamolecular complex (TMC) is the main laboratory for the study of low-mass star formation. The density and properties of interstellar dust are expected to vary across the TMC. These variations trace important processes such as dust nucleation or the magnetic field coupling with the cloud. In this paper, we show how the combination of near ultraviolet (NUV) and infrared (IR) photometry can be used to derive the strength of the 2175 Å bump and thus any enhancement in the abundance of small dust grains and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the dust grains size distribution. This technique is applied to the envelope of the TMC, mapped by the GALEXAll Sky Survey (AIS). Ultraviolet and IR photometric data have been retrieved from the GALEX-AIS and the 2MASS catalogues. NUV and K-band star counts have been used to identify the areas in the cloud envelope where the 2175 Å bump is weaker than in the diffuse interstellar medium namely, the low column density extensions of L1495, L1498 and L1524 in Taurus, L1545, L1548, L1519, L1513 in Auriga and L1482-83 in the California region. This finding agrees with previous results on dust evolution derived from Spitzer data and suggests that dust grains begin to decouple from the environmental Galactic magnetic field already in the envelope.
© The Royal Astronomical Society. This work has been partially funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain through grant: AYA2011-29754-C03-C01 and AYA2011-29754-C03-C03. This paper is based on data obtained by the NASA mission GALEX.
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