On the (in)variance of the dust-to-metals ratio in galaxies

Lars Mattsson, Annalisa De Cia, Anja C. Andersen, Tayyaba Zafar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Recent works have demonstrated a surprisingly small variation of the dust-to-metals ratio in different environments and a correlation between dust extinction and the density of stars. Naively, one would interpret these findings as strong evidence of cosmic dust being produced mainly by stars. But other observational evidence suggest that there is a significant variation of the dust-to-metals ratio with metallicity. As we demonstrate in this paper, a simple star-dust scenario is problematic also in the sense that it requires that destruction of dust in the interstellar medium (e.g. due to passage of supernova shocks) must be highly inefficient. We suggest a model where stellar dust production is indeed efficient, but where interstellar dust growth is equally important and acts as a replenishment mechanism which can counteract the effects of dust destruction. This model appears to resolve the seemingly contradictive observations, given that the ratio of the effective (stellar) dust and metal yields is not universal and thus may change from one environment to another, depending on metallicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1562-1570
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • supernovae: general
  • dust, extinction
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: spiral


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