Interstellar dust absorbs and scatters nearly half of the starlight in the Universe, heavily influencing our view on galaxies. Furthermore, it plays a crucial role in several astrophysical processes. A full understanding of the dust properties and the interplay between dust and starlight is essential to probe the current and past star formation activity and to constrain the cosmic star formation history.
In extragalactic studies, dust attenuation is often simplified to the Milky Way attenuation law or the Calzetti relation. However, there is growing evidence for strong deviations from a universal dust attenuation law.
We have initiated an ambitious program to study the variation of the dust attenuation curve and the dust properties in the nearby Universe. It is based on the SINGS/KINGFISH sample, a unique local galaxy sample spanning a wide range of morphological galaxy types, metal abundances and star formation activity. We are gathering multi-wavelength imaging data for this sample, covering the ultraviolet to the submillimeter wavelength range.
In this poster, we will present the first results of our analysis of the variation of the dust attenuation curve on spatially resolved scales of about 200 pc in the spiral galaxy NGC 628.