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Luminosity evolution, extragalactic background light and the opacity of the Universe

Davies, Jonathan Ivor, Phillipps, S., Trewhella, M. and Alton, P. B. 1997. Luminosity evolution, extragalactic background light and the opacity of the Universe. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 291 (1) , pp. 59-64.

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Abstract

Recent observations of the evolution of the luminosity density of the Universe with look-back time and measurements of the extragalactic background light (EBL) can be used to constrain the apparent redshift of the peak in the luminosity density at optical, near-infrared (NIR) and far-infrared (FIR) wavelengths. The optical (450 nm) luminosity density is found to peak in the interval 1.0<z<1.8, the NIR (1000 nm) in 1.0<z<4.4 and the FIR (240-1000 μm) in 0.25<z<∞. From the observed spectral energy distribution in the FIR, we conclude that the EBL in the FIR is significantly affected by emission from sources at high redshift (z~4). The determined peaks in the luminosity density are difficult to reconcile with standard models of galaxy evolution. We suggest that the observations in the optical and the NIR may be affected by optical depth effects. Given the apparent evolution of the FIR luminosity density we conclude that the Universe becomes opaque at redshifts of z=1-3.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Uncontrolled Keywords: Galaxies: Evolution, Intergalactic medium
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0035-8711
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:24
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/38466

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