Blue compact dwarf (BCD) galaxies are low-luminosity (absolute K-band magnitude, MK > −21 mag)1, metal-poor (1/50 ≤ Z/Z⊙ ≤ 1/2, where Z is the metallicity in terms of the solar metallicity Z⊙)2, centrally concentrated3 galaxies with bright clumps of star formation4. Cosmological surface-brightness dimming5 and the small size of BCDs limit their detection at high redshifts, making their formation process difficult to observe. Observations of BCDs are needed at intermediate redshifts, where they are still young enough to show their formative stages, particularly in the outer regions where cosmic gas accretion should drive evolution. Here we report the observation of excess far-ultraviolet (FUV) emission in the outer regions of 11 BCDs in the GOODS South field at redshifts between 0.1 and 0.24, corresponding to look-back times of 1.3–2.8 billion years in standard cosmology. These observations were made by the Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope6 on AstroSat7. For ten BCDs, the radial profiles of the intrinsic FUV emission, corrected for the instrument point spread function, have larger scale lengths than their optical counterparts observed with the Hubble Space Telescope. Such shallow FUV profiles suggest extended star formation in cosmically accreting disks. Clumpy structure in the FUV also suggests that the outer FUV disks are gravitationally unstable. Dynamical friction on the clumps drives them inwards at an average rate exceeding 106 solar masses per billion years.