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Physics and Astronomy


Dust lanes bisect the plane of a typical edge-on spiral galaxy as a dark optical absorption feature. Their appearance is linked to the gravitational stability of spiral disks; the fraction of edge-on galaxies that displays a dust lane is a direct indicator of the typical vertical balance between gravity and turbulence: a balance struck between the energy input from star formation and the gravitational pull into the plane of the disk. Based on morphological classifications by the Galaxy Zoo project on the Kilo Degree Survey (KiDS) imaging data in the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) fields, we explore the relation of dust lanes to the galaxy characteristics, most of which were determined using the Magphys spectral energy distribution fitting tool: stellar mass, total and specific star formation rates, and several parameters describing the cold dust component. We find that the fraction of dust lanes does depend on the stellar mass of the galaxy; they start to appear at M∗ ∼109 M o. A dust lane also strongly implies a dust mass of at least 105 M o, but otherwise does not correlate with cold dust mass parameters of the Magphys spectral energy distribution analysis, nor is there a link with the star formation rate, specific or total. Dust lane identification does not depend on disk ellipticity (disk thickness) or Sérsic profile but correlates with bulge morphology; a round bulge favors dust lane votes. The central component along the line of sight that produces the dust lane is not associated with either one of the components fit by Magphys, the cold diffuse component or the localized, heated component in H ii regions, but a mix of these two.