The Pleiades Reflection Nebula. II. Simple Model Constraints on Dust Properties and Scattering Geometry
We have used wide-field ultraviolet, optical, and far-infrared photometric images of Pleiades reflection nebulosity to analyze dust properties and the three-dimensional nebular geometry. Scattered light data were taken from 1650 and 2200 Å Wide-Field Imaging Survey Polarimeter images and a large 4400 Å mosaic of Burrell Schmidt CCD frames. Dust thermal emission maps were extracted from IRAS data. The scattering geometry analysis is complicated by the blending of light from many stars and the likely presence of more than one scattering layer. Despite these complications, we conclude that most of the scattered light comes from dust in front of the stars in at least two scattering layers, one far in front and extensive, the other nearer the stars and confined to areas of heavy nebulosity. The first layer can be approximated as an optically thin, foreground slab whose line-of-sight separation from the stars averages ~0.7 pc. The second layer is also optically thin in most locations and may lie at less than half the separation of the first layer, perhaps with some material among or behind the stars. The association of nebulosities peripheral to the main condensation around the brightest stars is not clear. Models with standard grain properties cannot account for the faintness of the scattered UV light relative to the optical. Some combination of significant changes in grain model albedo and phase function asymmetry values is required. Our best-performing model has a UV albedo of 0.22+/-0.07 and a scattering asymmetry of 0.74+/-0.06. Hypothetical optically thick dust clumps missed by interstellar sight line measurements have little effect on the nebular colors but might shift the interpretation of our derived scattering properties from individual grains to the bulk medium.