Galaxy And Mass Assembly: The evolution of the cosmic spectral energy distribution from z = 1 to z = 0

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle




  • A. H. Wright
  • J. Bland-Hawthorn
  • N. Bourne
  • M. Bremer
  • E. Da Cunha
  • M. Drinkwater
  • B. W. Holwerda
  • A. M. Hopkins
  • L. S. Kelvin
  • J. Loveday
  • S. Phillipps
  • S. Wilkins

Research units


We present the evolution of the cosmic spectral energy distribution (CSED) from z = 1 to 0. Our CSEDs originate from stacking individual spectral energy distribution (SED) fits based on panchromatic photometry from the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) and COSMOS data sets in 10 redshift intervals with completeness corrections applied. Below z = 0.45, we have credible SED fits from 100 nm to 1 mm. Due to the relatively low sensitivity of the far-infrared data, our far-infrared CSEDs contain a mix of predicted and measured fluxes above z = 0.45. Our results include appropriate errors to highlight the impact of these corrections. We show that the bolometric energy output of the Universe has declined by a factor of roughly 4 - from 5.1 ± 1.0 at z ∼ 1 to 1.3 ± 0.3 × 1035 h70 W Mpc-3 at the current epoch. We show that this decrease is robust to cosmic sample variance, the SED modelling and other various types of error. Our CSEDs are also consistent with an increase in the mean age of stellar populations. We also show that dust attenuation has decreased over the same period, with the photon escape fraction at 150 nm increasing from 16 ± 3 at z ∼ 1 to 24 ± 5 per cent at the current epoch, equivalent to a decrease in AFUV of 0.4 mag. Our CSEDs account for 68 ± 12 and 61 ± 13 per cent of the cosmic optical and infrared backgrounds, respectively, as defined from integrated galaxy counts and are consistent with previous estimates of the cosmic infrared background with redshift.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberstx1279
Pages (from-to)1342-1359
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 11 Sep 2017

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