AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 33 Early Science Results from the Spitzer Space Telescope
Topical Session, Tuesday, June 1, 2004, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, 601

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[33.15] Early Results from the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey (SINGS)

R.C. Kennicutt (U. Arizona), SINGS Team

This talk will summarize the early science results from the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxies Survey (SINGS), one of the six Spitzer Legacy projects. SINGS is a comprehensive multi-wavelength imaging and spectroscopic survey of 75 nearby galaxies. Its primary goal is to characterize the infrared emission of galaxies and their principal IR-emitting components, across the entire range of galaxy properties and star formation environments. Data products from the survey will include a full set of Spitzer imaging and spectroscopy along with ancillary data including radio continuum, HI, CO, submillimeter, BVRIJHK, H\alpha, UV, and X-ray maps.

The talk will highlight Spitzer observations of NGC 7331, the first SINGS target to be observed, and a close extragalactic analog to the Milky Way. Imaging obtained with the IRAC and MIPS cameras over 3.5-160 microns has provided pixel-resolved spectral energy distributions for the galaxy, and allowed us to separate the stellar mass and dust emission distributions, and measure the dust and gas masses of the main ISM components using several different methods. Spectral maps in the 5-38 micron region have revealed features from all of the principal ISM components, including the ionized star-forming disk, high-ionization nuclear gas, PDR and H2 lines, and dust emission bands. We have mapped the spatial variation in the PAH band spectrum, including a newly identified emission feature at 17.1 microns. The nebular line maps provide information on the physical conditions in the HII regions, and constrain the ionization mechanisms in the galaxy's weak active nucleus. The low-ionization and molecular line spectra are already providing valuable tests of the available PDR codes, when applied to extragalactic systems. Overall, the early results from NGC 7331 validate the efficacy of the SINGS observing strategy, and offer a preview of the scientific promise of the data to come.

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