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  1. Abstract

    We investigate the relationship between dust attenuation and stellar mass (M*) in star-forming galaxies over cosmic time. For this analysis, we compare measurements from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field survey atz∼ 2.3 and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) atz∼ 0, augmenting the latter optical data set with both UV Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) and mid-infrared Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) photometry from the GALEX-SDSS-WISE Catalog. We quantify dust attenuation using both spectroscopic measurements of Hαand Hβemission lines, and photometric measurements of the rest-UV stellar continuum. The Hα/Hβratio is used to determine the magnitude of attenuation at the wavelength of Hα,AHα. Rest-UV colors and spectral energy distribution fitting are used to estimateA1600, the magnitude of attenuation at a rest wavelength of 1600 Å. As in previous work, we find a lack of significant evolution in the relation between dust attenuation andM*over the redshift rangez∼ 0 toz∼ 2.3. Folding in the latest estimates of the evolution ofMdust, (Mdust/Mgas), and gas surface density at fixedM*, we find that the expectedMdustand dust mass surface density are both significantly higher atz∼ 2.3 than atz∼ 0. These differences appear at odds with the lack of evolution in dust attenuation. To explain the striking constancymore »in attenuation versusM*, it is essential to determine the relationship between metallicity and (Mdust/Mgas), the dust mass absorption coefficient and dust geometry, and the evolution of these relations and quantities fromz∼ 0 toz∼ 2.3.

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  2. Understanding the properties of dust attenuation curves in galaxies and the physical mechanisms that shape them are among the fundamental questions of extragalactic astrophysics, with great practical significance for deriving the physical properties of galaxies. Attenuation curves result from a combination of dust grain properties, dust content, and the spatial arrangement of dust and different populations of stars. In this review, we assess the state of the field, paying particular attention to extinction curves as the building blocks of attenuation laws. We introduce a quantitative framework to characterize extinction and attenuation curves, present a theoretical foundation for interpreting empirical results, overview an array of observational methods, and review observational results at low and high redshifts. Our main conclusions include the following: ▪  Attenuation curves exhibit a wide range of UV-through-optical slopes, from curves with shallow (Milky Way–like) slopes to those exceeding the slope of the Small Magellanic Cloud extinction curve. ▪  The slopes of the curves correlate strongly with the effective optical opacities, in the sense that galaxies with lower dust column density (lower visual attenuation) tend to have steeper slopes, whereas the galaxies with higher dust column density have shallower (grayer) slopes. ▪  Galaxies exhibit a range of 2175-Åmore »UV bump strengths, including no bump, but, on average, are suppressed compared with the average Milky Way extinction curve. ▪  Theoretical studies indicate that both the correlation between the slope and the dust column as well as variations in bump strength may result from geometric and radiative transfer effects.« less