Driver, Simon P., Popescu, Cristina C., Tuffs, Richard J., Graham, Alister W., Liske, Jochen and Baldry, Ivan
The Energy Output of the Universe from 0.1 to 1000 μm.
The Astrophysical Journal, 678
The dominant source of electromagnetic energy in the universe today (over ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared wavelengths) is starlight. However, quantifying the amount of starlight produced has proved difficult due to interstellar dust grains that attenuate some unknown fraction of the light. Combining a recently calibrated galactic dust model with observations of 10,000 nearby galaxies, we find that (integrated over all galaxy types and orientations) only 11% ± 2% of the 0.1 μm photons escape their host galaxies; this value rises linearly (with log λ) to 87% ± 3% at 2.1 μm. We deduce that the energy output from stars in the nearby universe is (1.6 ± 0.2) × 1035 W Mpc−3, of which (0.9 ± 0.1) × 1035 W Mpc−3 escapes directly into the intergalactic medium. Some further ramifications of dust attenuation are discussed, and equations that correct individual galaxy flux measurements for its effect are provided.