Importance of Orientation in Understanding Submillimeter Galaxies

23 June 2021

Scattering and absorption of light by gas and dust can lead to galaxies having different appearances depending on their viewing direction. In general, it is assumed that (far)infrared and millimeter wave observations are less affected by these effects. In “An orientation bias in observations of submillimetre galaxies” (Lovell+) we explore simulations of highly star-forming galaxies of a kind commonly identified in the millimeter (i.e., “submillimeter galaxies” or SMGs). Studying the apparent properties of the galaxies, we found that the inferred properties can change dramatically depending on the viewing direction. This in turn suggests that millimeter galaxy surveys done to date may select a biased subset of SMGs. The paper has been submitted to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and a preprint is available at the link above.