A census of star-forming galaxies in the z ∼ 9-10 universe based on hst+spitzer observations over 19 clash clusters: Three candidate z ∼ 9-10 galaxies and improved constraints on the star formation rate density at z Academic Article uri icon


  • We utilise a two-color Lyman-Break selection criterion to search for z � 9-10 galaxies over the first 19 clusters in the CLASH program. Key to this search are deep observations over our clusters in five near-IR passbands to 1.6µm, allowing us good constraints on the position of the Lyman break to z � 10. A systematic search yields three z � 9-10 candidates in total above a 6� detection limit. While we have already reported the most robust of these candidates, MACS1149-JD, in a previous publication, two additional z � 9 candidates are also revealed in our expanded search. The new candidates have H160-band AB magnitudes of �26.2-26.9 and are located behind MACSJ1115.9+0129 and MACSJ1720.3+3536. The observed H160 Spitzer/IRAC colors for the sources are sufficiently blue to strongly favor redshifts of z � 9 for these sources. A careful assessment of various sources of contamination suggests .1 contaminants for our z � 9-10 selection. To determine the implications of these search results for the LF and SFR density at z � 9, we introduce a new differential approach to deriving these quantities in lensing fields. Our procedure is to derive the evolution by comparing the number of z � 9-10 galaxy candidates found in CLASH with the number of galaxies in a slightly lower redshift sample (after correcting for the differences in selection volumes), here taken to be z � 8. This procedure takes advantage of the fact that the relative selection volumes available for the z � 8 and z � 9-10 selections behind lensing clusters are not greatly dependent on the details of the gravitational lensing models. We find that the normalization of the UV LF at z � 9 is just 0.22 +0.30 −0.15 × that at z � 8, �2 +31× lower than what we would infer extrapolating z � 4-8 LF results. These results therefore suggest a more rapid evolution in the UV LF at z > 8 than seen at lower redshifts (although the current evidence here is weak). Compared to similar evolutionary findings from the HUDF, our result is much more insensitive to large-scale structure uncertainties, given our many independent sightlines on the high-redshift universe. Subject headings: galaxies: evolution — galaxies: high-redshift

publication date

  • January 1, 2014