Probing star formation and ISM properties using galaxy disk inclination I. Evolution in disk opacity since z ∼ 0.7

S. K. Leslie*, M. T. Sargent, E. Schinnerer, B. Groves, A. Van Der Wel, G. Zamorani, Y. Fudamoto, P. Lang, V. Smolčić

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Disk galaxies at intermediate redshift (z ∼ 0.7) have been found in previous work to display more optically thick behaviour than their local counterparts in the rest-frame B-band surface brightness, suggesting an evolution in dust properties over the past ∼6 Gyr. We compare the measured luminosities of face-on and edge-on star-forming galaxies at different wavelengths (Ultraviolet (UV), mid-infrared (MIR), far-infrared (FIR), and radio) for two well-matched samples of disk-dominated galaxies: a local Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)-selected sample at z ∼ 0.07 and a sample of disks at z ∼ 0.7 drawn from Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS). We have derived correction factors to account for the inclination dependence of the parameters used for sample selection. We find that typical galaxies are transparent at MIR wavelengths at both redshifts, and that the FIR and radio emission is also transparent as expected. However, reduced sensitivity at these wavelengths limits our analysis; we cannot rule out opacity in the FIR or radio. Ultra-violet attenuation has increased between z ∼ 0 and z ∼ 0.7, with the z ∼ 0.7 sample being a factor of ∼3.4 more attenuated. The larger UV attenuation at z ∼ 0.7 can be explained by more clumpy dust around nascent star-forming regions. There is good agreement between the fitted evolution of the normalisation of the SFRUV versus 1 − cos(i) trend (interpreted as the clumpiness fraction) and the molecular gas fraction/dust fraction evolution of galaxies found out to z < 1.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA7
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: star formation
  • Opacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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