Publications From the UDF12 Team

New UDF12 Results:
Ellis, R. et al. "The Abundance of Star-Forming Galaxies in the Redshift Range 8.5 to 12: New Results from the 2012 Hubble Ultra Deep Field Campaign", ApJL, accepted (arXiv:1211.6804)
We present the results of the deepest search to date for star-forming galaxies beyond a redshift z~8.5 utilizing a new sequence of near-infrared Wide Field Camera 3 images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. This `UDF12' campaign completed in September 2012 doubles the earlier exposures with WFC3/IR in this field and quadruples the exposure in the key F105W filter used to locate such distant galaxies. Combined with additional imaging in the F140W filter, the fidelity of high redshift candidates is greatly improved. Using spectral energy distribution fitting techniques on objects selected from a deep multi-band near-infrared stack we find 7 promising z>8.5 candidates. As none of the previously claimed UDF candidates with 8.5<z<10 is confirmed by our deeper multi-band imaging, our campaign has transformed the measured abundance of galaxies in this redshift range. Although we recover the candidate UDFj-39546284 (previously proposed at z=10.3), it is undetected in the newly added F140W image, implying it lies at z=11.9 or is an intense emission line galaxy at z~2.4. Although no physically-plausible model can explain the required line intensity given the lack of Lyman alpha or broad-band UV signal, without an infrared spectrum we cannot rule out an exotic interloper. Regardless, our robust z ~ 8.5 - 10 sample demonstrates a luminosity density that continues the smooth decline observed over 6 < z < 8. Such continuity has important implications for models of cosmic reionization and future searches for z>10 galaxies with JWST.
Dunlop, J. S. et al. "The UV continua and inferred stellar populations of galaxies at z ~ 7 - 9 revealed by the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2012 campaign", MNRAS, submitted (arXiv:1212.0860)
We use the new ultra-deep, near-infrared imaging of the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF) provided by our UDF12 HST WFC3/IR campaign to explore the rest-frame UV properties of galaxies at redshifts z > 6.5. We present the first unbiased measurement of the average UV power-law index, beta, for faint galaxies at z ~ 7, the first meaningful measurements of beta at z ~ 8, and tentative estimates for a new sample of galaxies at z ~ 9. Utilising galaxy selection in the new F140W imaging to minimize colour bias, and applying both colour and power-law estimators of beta, we find beta = -2.1 (+/-0.2) at z ~ 7 for galaxies with M_UV ~ -18. This means that the faintest galaxies uncovered at this epoch have, on average, UV colours no more extreme than those displayed by the bluest star-forming galaxies at low redshift. At z ~ 8 we find a similar value, beta = -1.9 (+/-0.3). At z ~ 9, we find beta = -1.8 (+/-0.6), essentially unchanged from z ~ 6 - 7 (albeit highly uncertain). Finally, we show that there is as yet no evidence for a significant intrinsic scatter in beta within our new, robust z ~ 7 galaxy sample. Our results are most easily explained by a population of steadily star-forming galaxies with either ~ solar metallicity and zero dust, or moderately sub-solar (~ 10-20%) metallicity with modest dust obscuration (A_V ~ 0.1-0.2). This latter interpretation is consistent with the predictions of a state-of-the-art galaxy-formation simulation, which also suggests that a significant population of very-low metallicity, dust-free galaxies with beta ~ -2.5 may not emerge until M_UV > -16, a regime likely to remain inaccessible until the James Webb Space Telescope.
Koekemoer, A. M. et al. "The 2012 Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UDF12): Observational Overview", ApJS, submitted (arXiv:1212.1448)
We present the 2012 Hubble Ultra Deep Field campaign (UDF12), a large 128-orbit Cycle 19 HST program aimed at extending previous WFC3/IR observations of the UDF by quadrupling the exposure time in the F105W filter, imaging in an additional F140W filter, and extending the F160W exposure time by 50%. The principal scientific goal of this project is to determine whether galaxies reionized the universe; our observations are designed to provide a robust determination of the star formation density at z>~8 improve measurements of the ultraviolet continuum slope at z~7-8, facilitate the construction of new samples of z~9-10 candidates, and enable the detection of sources up to z~12. For this project we committed to combining these and other WFC3/IR imaging observations of the UDF area into a single homogeneous dataset, to provide the deepest near-infrared observations of the sky currently achievable. In this paper we present the observational overview of the project, motivated by its scientific goals, and describe the procedures used in reducing the data as well as the final products that are produced. We have used the most up up-to-date methods for calibrating and combining the images, in particular paying attention to correcting several instrumental effects. We release the full combined mosaics, comprising a single, unified set of mosaics of the UDF, providing the deepest near-infrared blank-field view of the universe obtained to date, reaching magnitudes as deep as AB~30 in the near-infrared, and yielding a legacy dataset on this field of lasting scientific value to the community.
Ono, Y. et al., "Evolution of the Sizes of Galaxies over 7<z<12 Revealed by the 2012 Hubble Ultra Deep Field Campaign", ApJ, submitted (arXiv:1212.3869)
We present the results of the deepest search to date for star-forming galaxies beyond a redshift z~8.5 utilizing a new sequence of near-infrared Wide Field Camera 3 images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. This `UDF12' campaign completed in September 2012 doubles the earlier exposures with WFC3/IR in this field and quadruples the exposure in the key F105W filter used to locate such distant galaxies. Combined with additional imaging in the F140W filter, the fidelity of high redshift candidates is greatly improved. Using spectral energy distribution fitting techniques on objects selected from a deep multi-band near-infrared stack we find 7 promising z>8.5 candidates. As none of the previously claimed UDF candidates with 8.5<z<10 is confirmed by our deeper multi-band imaging, our campaign has transformed the measured abundance of galaxies in this redshift range. Although we recover the candidate UDFj-39546284 (previously proposed at z=10.3), it is undetected in the newly added F140W image, implying it lies at z=11.9 or is an intense emission line galaxy at z~2.4. Although no physically-plausible model can explain the required line intensity given the lack of Lyman alpha or broad-band UV signal, without an infrared spectrum we cannot rule out an exotic interloper. Regardless, our robust z ~ 8.5 - 10 sample demonstrates a luminosity density that continues the smooth decline observed over 6 < z < 8. Such continuity has important implications for models of cosmic reionization and future searches for z>10 galaxies with JWST.
Schenker, M., et al., "The UV Luminosity Function of star-forming galaxies via dropout selection at redshifts z ~ 7 and 8 from the 2012 Ultra Deep Field campaign", ApJ, submitted (arXiv:1212.4819)
We present a catalog of high redshift star-forming galaxies selected to lie within the redshift range z ~ 7-8 using the Ultra Deep Field 2012 (UDF12), the deepest near-infrared (near-IR) exposures yet taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. As a result of the increased near-infrared exposure time compared to previous HST imaging in this field, we probe 0.65 (0.25) mag fainter in absolute UV magnitude, at z ~ 7 (8), which increases confidence in a measurement of the faint end slope of the galaxy luminosity function. Through a 0.7 mag deeper limit in the key F105W filter that encompasses or lies just longward of the Lyman break, we also achieve a much-refined color-color selection that balances high redshift completeness and a low expected contamination fraction. We improve the number of drop-out selected UDF sources to 47 at z ~ 7 and 27 at z ~ 8. Incorporating brighter archival and ground-based samples, we measure the z ~ 7 UV luminosity function to an absolute magnitude limit of M_UV = -17 and find a faint end Schechter slope of \alpha = -1.87+/- 0.18. Using a similar color-color selection at z ~ 8 that takes account of our newly-added imaging in the F140W filter, and incorporating archival data from the HIPPIES and BoRG campaigns, we provide a robust estimate of the faint end slope at z ~ 8, \alpha = -1.94 +/- 0.23. We briefly discuss our results in the context of earlier work and that derived using the same UDF12 data but with an independent photometric redshift technique (McLure et al 2012).
Background Papers:
Dunlop, J. "Observing the First Galaxies", The First Galaxies - Theoretical Predictions and Observational Clues, Springer (2012)
I endeavour to provide a thorough overview of our current knowledge of high-redshift galaxies and their evolution during the first billion years of cosmic time, corresponding to redshifts z > 5. After first summarizing progress with the seven different techniques which have been used to date in the discovery of objects at z > 5, I focus thereafter on the two selection methods which have yielded substantial samples of galaxies at early times, namely Lyman-break and Lyman-alpha selection. I discuss a decade of progress in galaxy sample selection at z ~ 5 - 8, including issues of completeness and contamination, and address some of the confusion which has been created by erroneous reports of extreme-redshift objects. Next I provide an overview of our current knowledge of the evolving ultraviolet continuum and Lyman-alpha galaxy luminosity functions at z ~ 5 - 8, and discuss what can be learned from exploring the relationship between the Lyman-break and Lyman-alpha selected populations. I then summarize what is known about the physical properties of these galaxies in the young universe, before considering the wider implications of this work for the cosmic history of star formation, and for the reionization of the universe. I conclude with a brief summary of the exciting prospects for further progress in this field in the next 5-10 years. Throughout, key concepts such as selection techniques and luminosity functions are explained assuming essentially no prior knowledge. The intention is that this chapter can be used as an introduction to the observational study of high-redshift galaxies, as well as providing a review of the latest results in this fast-moving research field up to the end of 2011.
Robertson, B., Ellis, R., Dunlop, J., McLure, R., and Stark, D. "Early Star-Forming Galaxies and the Reionization of the Universe." Nature, 468, 49 (2010)
Star-forming galaxies trace cosmic history.  Recent observational progress with the NASA Hubble Space Telescope has led to the discovery and study of the earliest known galaxies, which correspond to a period when the Universe was only ~800 million years old.  Intense ultraviolet radiation from these early galaxies probably induced a major event in cosmic history: the reionization of intergalactic hydrogen.
Recent UDF12 Team Member Publications:
Rogers, A., McLure, R., and Dunlop, J. "The unbiased measurement of UV spectral slopes in low luminosity galaxies at z=7.", arXiv:1209.4636 (2012)
The Ultraviolet (UV) continuum slope beta, typically observed at z=7 in Hubble Space Telescope (HST) WFC3/IR bands via the J-H colour, is a useful indicator of the age, metallicity, and dust content of high-redshift stellar populations. Recent studies have shown that the redward evolution of beta with cosmic time from redshift 7 to 4 can be largely explained by a build up of dust. However, initial claims that faint z=7 galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field WFC3/IR imaging (HUDF09) were blue enough to require stellar populations of zero reddening, low metallicity and young ages, hitherto unseen in star-forming galaxies, have since been refuted and revised. Here we revisit the question of how best to measure the UV slope of z=7 galaxies through source recovery simulations, within the context of present and future ultra-deep imaging from HST. We consider how source detection, selection and colour measurement have each biased the measurement of beta in previous studies. After finding a robust method for measuring beta in the simulations (via a power law fit to all the available photometry), we remeasure the UV slopes of a sample of previously published low luminosity z=7 galaxy candidates. This sample appears consistent with an intrinsic distribution of normal star-forming galaxies with beta=-2, although properly decoding the underlying distribution will require further imaging from the ongoing HUDF12 programme. We therefore go on to consider strategies for obtaining better constraints on the underlying distribution of UV slopes at z=7 from these new data, which will benefit particularly from the addition of imaging in a second J-band filter: F140W. We find that a precise and unbiased measurement of beta should then be possible.
Stark, D., et al. "Keck Spectroscopy of 3<z<7 Faint Lyman Break Galaxies: The Importance of Nebular Emission in Understanding the Specific Star Formation Rate and Stellar Mass Density.", arxiv:1208.3529 (2012)
The physical properties inferred from the SEDs of z>3 galaxies have been influential in shaping our understanding of early galaxy formation and the role galaxies may play in cosmic reionization. Of particular importance is the stellar mass density at early times which represents the integral of earlier star formation. An important puzzle arising from the measurements so far reported is that the specific star formation rates (sSFR) evolve far less rapidly than expected in most theoretical models. Yet the observations underpinning these results remain very uncertain, owing in part to the possible contamination of rest-optical broadband light from strong nebular emission lines. To quantify the contribution of nebular emission to broad-band fluxes, we investigate the SEDs of 92 spectroscopically-confirmed galaxies in the redshift range 3.8<z<5.0 chosen because the H-alpha line lies within the Spitzer/IRAC 3.6 um filter. We demonstrate that the 3.6 um flux is systematically in excess of that expected from stellar continuum, which we derive by fitting the SED with population synthesis models. No such excess is seen in a control sample at 3.1<z<3.6 in which there is no nebular contamination in the IRAC filters. From the distribution of our 3.6 um flux excesses, we derive an H-alpha equivalent width (EW) distribution. The mean rest-frame H-alpha EW we infer at 3.8<z<5.0 (270 A) indicates that nebular emission contributes at least 30% of the 3.6 um flux. Via our empirically-derived EW distribution we correct the available stellar mass densities and show that the sSFR evolves more rapidly at z>4 than previously thought, supporting up to a 5x increase between z~2 and 7. Such a trend is much closer to theoretical expectations. Given our findings, we discuss the prospects for verifying quantitatively the nebular emission line strengths prior to the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
Curtis-Lake, E., et al. "The ages, masses and star-formation rates of spectroscopically confirmed z~6 galaxies in CANDELS.", arXiv:1207.2727 (2012)
We report the results of a study exploring the stellar populations of 13 luminous (L>L*), spectroscopically confirmed, galaxies in the redshift interval 5.5<z<6.5, all with WFC3/IR and IRAC imaging from the HST/CANDELS and Spitzer/SEDS surveys. Based on fitting the observed photometry with SED templates covering a wide range of different star-formation histories, and a self consistent treatment of Lyman-alpha emission, we find that the derived stellar masses lie within the range 10^9 Msun < M*< 10^10 Msun and are robust to within a factor of two. In contrast, we confirm previous reports that the ages of the stellar populations are poorly constrained. Although the best-fitting models for three objects have ages >= 300 Myr, the degeneracies introduced by dust extinction mean that only two of these objects actually require a >300 Myr old stellar population to reproduce the observed photometry. Moreover, when considering only smoothly-varying star-formation histories, we observe a clear tension between the data and models such that a galaxy SED template with an old age is often chosen in order to try and fit objects with blue UV-slopes but red UV-to-optical colours. To break this tension we explore SED fitting with two-component models (burst plus on-going star-formation) and allow for nebular emission. On average, the inclusion of nebular emission leads to lower stellar-mass estimates (median offset 0.18 dex), moderately higher specific star-formation rates, and allows for a wider range of plausible stellar ages. However, based on our SED modelling, we find no strong evidence for extremely young ages in our sample (<50 Myr). Finally, considering all of the different star-formation histories explored, we find that the median best-fitting ages are of the order 200-300 Myr and that the objects with the tightest constraints indicate ages in the range 50-200 Myr (Abridged).
McLure, R., et al. "The sizes, masses and specific star-formation rates of massive galaxies at 1.3<z<1.5: strong evidence in favour of evolution via minor mergers.", arXiv:1205.4058 (2012)
We report the results of a comprehensive study of the relationship between galaxy size, stellar mass and specific star-formation rate (sSFR) at redshifts 1.3<z<1.5. Based on a mass complete (M_star >= 6x10^10 Msun), spectroscopic sample from the UKIDSS Ultra-deep Survey (UDS), with accurate stellar-mass measurements derived from spectro photometric fitting, we find that at z~1.4 the location of massive galaxies on the size-mass plane is determined primarily by their sSFR. At this epoch we find that massive galaxies which are passive (sSFR <= 0.1 Gyr^-1) follow a tight size-mass relation, with half-light radii a factor f=2.4+/-0.2 smaller than their local counterparts. Moreover, amongst the passive sub-sample we find no evidence that the off-set from the local size-mass relation is a function of stellar population age. Based on a sub-sample with dynamical mass estimates we also derive an independent estimate of f=2.3+/-0.3 for the typical growth in half-light radius between z~1.4 and the present day. Focusing on the passive sub-sample, we conclude that to produce the necessary evolution predominantly via major mergers would require an unfeasible number of merger events and over populate the high-mass end of the local stellar mass function. In contrast, we find that a scenario in which mass accretion is dominated by minor mergers can produce the necessary evolution, whereby an increase in stellar mass by a factor of ~2, accompanied by an increase in size by a factor of ~3.5, is sufficient to reconcile the size-mass relation at z~1.4 with that observed locally. Finally, we note that a significant fraction (44+/-12%) of the passive galaxies in our sample have a disk-like morphology, providing additional evidence that separate physical processes are responsible for the quenching of star-formation and the morphological transformation of massive galaxies (abridged).
Dunlop, J., et al. "A critical analysis of the ultraviolet continuum slopes (β) of high-redshift galaxies: no evidence (yet) for extreme stellar populations at z > 6." MNRAS420, 901 (2012)
Following the discovery of the first significant samples of galaxies at z > 6.5 with Wide Field Camera 3/Infra-Red (WFC3/IR) on board Hubble Space Telescope (HST), it has been claimed that the faintest high-redshift galaxies display extremely blue ultraviolet (UV) continuum slopes, with a UV power-law index β≃-3. Such slopes are bluer than previously reported for any other galaxy population, and are most readily explained theoretically by extinction-free, young and very low metallicity stellar populations with a high ionizing photon escape fraction. Here we undertake a critical study of the evidence for such extreme values of β, combining three new WFC3/IR-selected samples of galaxies spanning nearly two decades in UV luminosity over the redshift range z≃ 4.5-8. We explore the impact of inclusion/exclusion of less robust high-redshift candidates and use the varying depths of the samples to explore the effects of noise and selection bias at a given UV luminosity. Simple data-consistency arguments suggest that artificially blue average values of β can result when the analysis is extended into the deepest ≃0.5 mag bin of these WFC3/IR-selected galaxy samples, regardless of the actual luminosity or redshift range probed. By confining attention to robust high-redshift galaxy candidates, with at least one 8σ detection in the WFC3/IR imaging, we find that the average value of β is consistent with <β>=-2.05 ± 0.10 over the redshift range z= 5-7 and the UV absolute magnitude range -22 < MUV,AB< - 18, and that <β> shows no significant trend with either redshift or MUV. We create and analyse a set of simple end-to-end simulations based on the WFC3/IR+ACS Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) and Early Release Science data sets which demonstrate that a bias towards artificially low/blue average values of β is indeed 'expected' when the UV slope analysis is extended towards the source detection threshold, and conclude that there is as yet no clear evidence for UV slopes significantly bluer than β≃-2, the typical value displayed by the bluest star-forming galaxies at more modest redshifts. A robust measurement of <β> for the faintest galaxies at z≃ 7 (and indeed z≃ 8) remains a key observational goal, as it provides a fundamental test for high escape fractions from a potentially abundant source of re-ionizing photons. This goal is achievable with HST, but requires still deeper WFC3/IR imaging in the HUDF.
Robertson, B., and Ellis, R. "Connecting the Gamma Ray Burst Rate and the Cosmic Star Formation History: Implications for Reionization and Galaxy Evolution." ApJ, 744, 95 (2012).
The contemporary discoveries of galaxies and gamma ray bursts (GRBs) at high redshift have supplied the first direct information on star formation when the universe was only a few hundred million years old. The probable origin of long duration GRBs in the deaths of massive stars would link the universal GRB rate to the redshift-dependent star formation rate (SFR) density, although exactly how is currently unknown. As the most distant GRBs and star-forming galaxies probe the reionization epoch, the potential reward of understanding the redshift-dependent ratio Ψ(z) of the GRB rate to SFR is significant and includes addressing fundamental questions such as incompleteness in rest-frame UV surveys for determining the SFR at high redshift and time variations in the stellar initial mass function. Using an extensive sample of 112 GRBs above a fixed luminosity limit drawn from the Second Swift Burst Alert Telescope catalog and accounting for uncertainty in their redshift distribution by considering the contribution of "dark" GRBs, we compare the cumulative redshift distribution N(< z) of GRBs with the star formation density \dot{\rho }_{\star }(z) measured from UV-selected galaxies over 0 < z <4. Strong evolution (e.g., Ψ(z)vprop(1 + z)1.5) is disfavored (Kolmogorov-Smirnov test P < 0.07). We show that more modest evolution (e.g., Ψ(z)vprop(1 + z)0.5) is consistent with the data (P ≈ 0.9) and can be readily explained if GRBs occur primarily in low-metallicity galaxies which are proportionally more numerous at earlier times. If such trends continue beyond z ~= 4, we find that the discovery rate of distant GRBs implies an SFR density much higher than that inferred from UV-selected galaxies. While some previous studies of the GRB-SFR connection have concluded that GRB-inferred star formation at high redshift would be sufficient to maintain cosmic reionization over 6<z <9 and reproduce the observed optical depth of Thomson scattering to the cosmic microwave background, we show that such a star formation history would overpredict the observed stellar mass density at z > 4 measured from rest-frame optical surveys. The resolution of this important disagreement is currently unclear, and the GRB production rate at early times is likely more complex than a simple function of SFR and progenitor metallicity.
Schenker, M., et al. "Keck Spectroscopy of Faint 3 < z < 8 Lyman Break Galaxies: Evidence for a Declining Fraction of Emission Line Sources in the Redshift Range 6 < z < 8." ApJ744, 179 (2012)
Using deep Keck spectroscopy of Lyman break galaxies selected from infrared imaging data taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 on board the Hubble Space Telescope, we present new evidence for a reversal in the redshift-dependent fraction of star-forming galaxies with detectable Lyman alpha (Lyα) emission in the redshift range 6.3 < z < 8.8. Our earlier surveys with the DEIMOS spectrograph demonstrated a significant increase with redshift in the fraction of line emitting galaxies over the interval 4 < z < 6, particularly for intrinsically faint systems which dominate the luminosity density. Using the longer wavelength sensitivities of Low Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and NIRSPEC, we have targeted 19 Lyman break galaxies selected using recent WFC3/IR data whose photometric redshifts are in the range 6.3 < z < 8.8 and which span a wide range of intrinsic luminosities. Our spectroscopic exposures typically reach a 5σ sensitivity of <50 Å for the rest-frame equivalent width (EW) of Lyα emission. Despite the high fraction of emitters seen only a few hundred million years later, we find only two convincing and one possible line emitter in our more distant sample. Combining with published data on a further seven sources obtained using FORS2 on the ESO Very Large Telescope, and assuming continuity in the trends found at lower redshift, we discuss the significance of this apparent reversal in the redshift-dependent Lyα fraction in the context of our range in continuum luminosity. Assuming all the targeted sources are at their photometric redshift and our assumptions about the Lyα EW distribution are correct, we would expect to find so few emitters in less than 1% of the realizations drawn from our lower redshift samples. Our new results provide further support for the suggestion that, at the redshifts now being probed spectroscopically, we are entering the era where the intergalactic medium is partially neutral. With the arrival of more sensitive multi-slit infrared spectrographs, the prospects for improving the statistical validity of this result are promising.
McLure, R., et al. "A robust sample of galaxies at redshifts 6.0<z<8.7: stellar populations, star formation rates and stellar masses." MNRAS, 418, 2074 (2011)
We present the results of a photometric redshift analysis designed to identify z≥ 6 galaxies from the near-infrared Hubble Space Telescope imaging in three deep fields [Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), HUDF09-2 and Early Release Science] covering a total area of 45 square arcmin. By adopting a rigorous set of criteria for rejecting low-redshift interlopers, and by employing a deconfusion technique to allow the available ultradeep IRAC imaging to be included in the candidate-selection process, we have derived a robust sample of 70 Lyman break galaxies (LBGs) spanning the redshift range 6.0 < z < 8.7. Based on our final sample, we investigate the distribution of ultraviolet (UV) spectral slopes (fλ∝λβ), finding a variance-weighted mean value of <β>=-2.05 ± 0.09 which, contrary to some previous results, is not significantly bluer than displayed by lower redshift starburst galaxies. We confirm the correlation between UV luminosity and stellar mass reported elsewhere, but based on fitting galaxy templates featuring a range of star formation histories (SFHs), metallicities and reddening, we find that, at z≥ 6, the range in mass-to-light ratio (M★/LUV) at a given UV luminosity could span a factor of ≃50. Focusing on a subsample of 21 candidates with IRAC detections at ?m, we find that L★ LBGs at z≃ 6.5 have a median stellar mass of M★= (2.1 ± 1.1) × 109 Msun (Chabrier initial mass function) and a median specific star formation rate (sSFR) of 1.9 ± 0.8 Gyr-1. Using the same subsample, we have investigated the influence of nebular continuum and line emission, finding that for the majority of candidates (16 out of 21), the best-fitting stellar masses are reduced by less than a factor of 2.5. However, galaxy template fits exploring a plausible range of SFHs and metallicities provide no compelling evidence of a clear connection between SFR and stellar mass at these redshifts. Finally, a detailed comparison of our final sample with the results of previous studies suggests that, at faint magnitudes, several high-redshift galaxy samples in the literature are significantly contaminated by low-redshift interlopers.
Ono, Y., et al. "Stellar Populations of Lyα Emitters at z ~ 6-7: Constraints on the Escape Fraction of Ionizing Photons from Galaxy Building Blocks", ApJ, 724, 1524 (2010)
We investigate the stellar populations of Lyα emitters (LAEs) at z = 5.7 and 6.6 in a 0.65 deg2 sky of the Subaru/XMM-Newton Deep Survey (SXDS) Field, using deep images taken with the Subaru/Suprime-Cam, United Kingdom Infrared Telescope/Wide Field Infrared Camera, and Spitzer/Infrared Array Camera (IRAC). We produce stacked multiband images at each redshift from 165 (z = 5.7) and 91 (z = 6.6) IRAC-undetected objects to derive typical spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of z ~ 6-7 LAEs for the first time. The stacked LAEs have as blue UV continua as the Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) z-dropout galaxies of similar M UV, with a spectral slope β ~ -3, but at the same time they have red UV-to-optical colors with detection in the 3.6 μm band. Using SED fitting we find that the stacked LAEs have low stellar masses of ~(3-10) × 107M sun, very young ages of ~1-3 Myr, negligible dust extinction, and strong nebular emission from the ionized interstellar medium, although the z = 6.6 object is fitted similarly well with high-mass models without nebular emission; inclusion of nebular emission reproduces the red UV-to-optical colors while keeping the UV colors sufficiently blue. We infer that typical LAEs at z ~ 6-7 are building blocks of galaxies seen at lower redshifts. We find a tentative decrease in the Lyα escape fraction from z = 5.7 to 6.6, which may imply an increase in the intergalactic medium neutral fraction. From the minimum contribution of nebular emission required to fit the observed SEDs, we place an upper limit on the escape fraction of ionizing photons of f ion esc ~ 0.6 at z = 5.7 and ~0.9 at z = 6.6. We also compare the stellar populations of our LAEs with those of stacked HST/WFC3 z-dropout galaxies.
McLure, R., et al., "Galaxies at z = 6-9 from the WFC3/IR imaging of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field." MNRAS403, 960 (2010)
We present the results of a systematic search for galaxies in the redshift range z = 6-9, within the new, deep, near-infrared (Y, J, H) imaging of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field provided by the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the Hubble Space Telescope. We have performed full spectral energy distribution fitting to the optical+infrared photometry of all high-redshift galaxy candidates detected at >=5σ significance in at least one of the WFC3/IR broad-band filters. After careful rejection of contaminants, the result is a sample of 49 galaxies with primary photometric redshift solutions z > 5.9, within the 4.5 arcmin2 field covered by the new near-infrared imaging. Our sample, selected without recourse to specific colour cuts, reselects all but the faintest one of the 16 z850-drops selected by Oesch et al., recovers all five of the Y105-drops reported by Bouwens et al. and adds a further 29 equally plausible galaxy candidates, of which 12 lie beyond z ~= 6.3 and four lie beyond z ~= 7.0. However, we also present confidence intervals on our photometric redshift estimates, including alternative secondary redshift solutions. As a result of this analysis, we caution that acceptable low-redshift (z < 2) solutions exist for 28 out of the 37 galaxies at z > 6.3 and in particular for all eight of the galaxy candidates reported here at z > 7.5. Nevertheless, we note that the very highest redshift candidates appear to be strongly clustered in the field. Based on our photometric redshift analysis, we derive new estimates of the ultraviolet galaxy luminosity function at z ~= 7 and 8. Where our results are most robust, at a characteristic luminosity M1500 ~= -19.5 (AB), we find that the comoving number density of galaxies declines by a factor of ~=2.5 between z ~= 6 and 7 and by a further factor of ~=2 by z ~= 8. These results suggest that it is difficult for the observed population of high-redshift star-forming galaxies to achieve re-ionization by z ~= 6 without a significant contribution from galaxies well below the detection limits, plus alterations in the escape fraction of ionizing photons and/or continued vigorous star formation at z > 15.
Ouchi, M., et al. "Statistics of 207 Lyα Emitters at a Redshift Near 7: Constraints on Reionization and Galaxy Formation Models." ApJ723, 869 (2010)
We present the Lyα luminosity function (LF), clustering measurements, and Lyα line profiles based on the largest sample to date of 207 Lyα emitters (LAEs) at z = 6.6 on the 1 deg2 sky of Subaru/XMM-Newton Deep Survey field. Our z = 6.6 Lyα LF including cosmic variance estimates yields the best-fit Schechter parameters of phi* = 8.5+3.0 -2.2 × 10-4 Mpc-3 and L*Lyα = 4.4+0.6 -0.6 × 1042 erg s-1 with a fixed α = -1.5, and indicates a decrease from z = 5.7 at the gsim90% confidence level. However, this decrease is not large, only sime30% in Lyα luminosity, which is too small to have been identified in the previous studies. A clustering signal of z = 6.6 LAEs is detected for the first time. We obtain the correlation length of r 0= 2-5 h -1 100 Mpc and a bias of b= 3-6, and find no significant boost of clustering amplitude by reionization at z = 6.6. The average hosting dark halo mass inferred from clustering is 1010-1011 M sun, and a duty cycle of LAE population is roughly ~1%, albeit with large uncertainties. The average of our high-quality Keck/DEIMOS spectra shows an FWHM velocity width of 251 ± 16 km s-1. We find no large evolution of the Lyα line profile from z = 5.7 to 6.6, and no anti-correlation between Lyα luminosity and line width at z = 6.6. The combination of various reionization models and our observational results about the LF, clustering, and line profile indicates that there would exist a small decrease of the intergalactic medium's (IGM's) Lyα transmission owing to reionization, but that the hydrogen IGM is not highly neutral at z = 6.6. Our neutral-hydrogen fraction constraint implies that the major reionization process took place at z >~ 7.