A Principal Component Analysis of the Diffuse Interstellar Bands
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We present a principal component (PC) analysis of 23 line-of-sight parameters (including the strengths of 16 diffuse interstellar bands, DIBs) for a well-chosen sample of single-cloud sightlines representing a broad range of environmental conditions. Our analysis indicates that the majority (∼93%) of the variations in the measurements can be captured by only four parameters The main driver (i.e., the first PC) is the amount of DIB-producing material in the line of sight, a quantity that is extremely well traced by the equivalent width of the λ5797 DIB. The second PC is the amount of UV radiation, which correlates well with the λ5797/λ5780 DIB strength ratio. The remaining two PCs are more difficult to interpret, but are likely related to the properties of dust in the line of sight (e.g., the gas-to-dust ratio). With our PCA results, the DIBs can then be used to estimate these line-of-sight parameters.