A cosmic relation between extinction and star formation

Oren Zoran, Rennan Barkana, Rodger I. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We study the relation between the star formation intensity of galaxies and the extinction by dust of their emitted light. We employ a detailed statistical analysis of Hubble Deep Field North data to show a clear positive correlation between the extinction and star formation intensity at all epochs from redshift 0.4 to 6.5. The extinction evidently increases with time for a given star formation intensity, consistent with the expected increase in the metallicity with time. Our observational results are well fitted at all epochs by a double-power-law model with a fixed shape that simply shifts with redshift. The correlation between the extinction and the star formation intensity can be interpreted by combining two other trends: the correlation between the star formation rate and the gas content of galaxies, and the evolution of the dust-to-gas ratio in galaxies. If we assume that Kennicutt's observed relation for the former is valid at each redshift, then our findings imply an interesting variation in the dust-to-gas ratio in galaxies within each epoch and with time, and suggest new ways to investigate the cosmic evolution of this quantity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L47-L51
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Cosmology: observations
  • Dust, extinction
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • ISM: evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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