Five-band UV photometry is used to investigate the character of interstellar extinction toward 1367 stars of spectral type B3 and earlier, with observations producing a galactic average of 5.11, 4.78, 6.52, 4.10 and 1.95 at 1550, 1800, 2200, 2500, and 3300 A, respectively. Differences in the strengths of the UV extinction features of these stars appear to be independent, since objects with either strong or weak 2200 A extinction can have strong, normal or weak far-UV extinction. Further investigation reveals that some of the deviant stars are embedded in localized regions whose average extinction curves diverge dramatically from the galactic mean. The anomalous extinction of these regions attests to localized inhomogeneities in the UV characteristics of interstellar dust. Because the evaluation of UV extinction toward a particular star would be more accurate if based on the average curve of the region immediately surrounding that star rather than that of the entire Galaxy, it is recommended that the galactic average presented be used with caution to correct astronomical data of individual objects.
Astrophysical Journal; vol. 248