First Light And Reionisation Epoch Simulations (FLARES) – XII: The consequences of star–dust geometry on galaxies in the EoR

Aswin P. Vijayan, Peter A. Thomas, Christopher C. Lovell, Stephen M. Wilkins, Thomas R. Greve, Dimitrios Irodotou, William J. Roper, Louise T. C. Seeyave

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Using the First Light And Reionisation Epoch Simulations, a suite of hydrodynamical simulations, we explore the consequences of a realistic model for star–dust geometry on the observed properties of galaxies. We find that the ultraviolet (UV) attenuation declines rapidly from the central regions of galaxies, and bright galaxies have spatially extended star formation that suffers less obscuration than their fainter counterparts, demonstrating a non-linear relationship between the UV luminosity and the UV attenuation, giving a double power-law shape to the UVLF. Spatially distinct stellar populations within galaxies experience a wide range of dust attenuation due to variations in the dust optical depth along their line of sight, which can range from completely dust obscured to being fully unobscured. The overall attenuation curve of a galaxy is then a complex combination of various lines of sight within the galaxy. We explore the manifestation of this effect to study the reliability of line ratios to infer galaxy properties, in particular, the Balmer decrement and the Baldwin, Phillips, and Terlevich (BPT) diagram. We find the Balmer decrement predicted Balmer-line attenuation to be higher (factor of 1 to ≳ 10) than expected from commonly used attenuation curves. The observed BPT line ratios deviate from their intrinsic values [median difference of 0.08 (0.02) and standard deviation of 0.2 (0.05) for log10([NHα) (log10([O III]λ5008/Hβ)]. Finally, we explore the variation in observed properties (UV attenuation, UV slope, and Balmer decrement) with viewing angle, finding average differences of ∼0.3 mag in the UV attenuation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7337–7354
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date12 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • astro-ph.GA
  • galaxies: general
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: photometry
  • UKRI
  • STFC
  • ST/K00042X/1
  • ST/P002293/1
  • ST/R002371/1
  • ST/S002502/1
  • ST/R000832/1

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