Finding and characterizing the first galaxies that illuminated the early universe at cosmic dawn is pivotal to understand the physical conditions and the processes that led to the formation of the first stars. In the first few months of operations, imaging from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been used to identify tens of candidates of galaxies at redshift (z) greater than 10, less than 450 million years after the Big Bang. However, none of such candidates has yet been confirmed spectroscopically, leaving open the possibility that they are actually low-redshift interlopers. Here we present spectroscopic confirmation and analysis of four galaxies unambiguously detected at redshift 10.3 ≤ z ≤ 13.2, previously selected from JWST Near Infrared Camera imaging. The spectra reveal that these primeval galaxies are metal poor, have masses on the order of about 107–108 solar masses and young ages. The damping wings that shape the continuum close to the Lyman edge provide constraints on the neutral hydrogen fraction of the intergalactic medium from normal star-forming galaxies. These findings demonstrate the rapid emergence of the first generations of galaxies at cosmic dawn.

Spectroscopic confirmation of four metal-poor galaxies at z = 10.3–13.2

Carniani Stefano;Maiolino Roberto;Bowler Rebecca;
2023

Abstract

Finding and characterizing the first galaxies that illuminated the early universe at cosmic dawn is pivotal to understand the physical conditions and the processes that led to the formation of the first stars. In the first few months of operations, imaging from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been used to identify tens of candidates of galaxies at redshift (z) greater than 10, less than 450 million years after the Big Bang. However, none of such candidates has yet been confirmed spectroscopically, leaving open the possibility that they are actually low-redshift interlopers. Here we present spectroscopic confirmation and analysis of four galaxies unambiguously detected at redshift 10.3 ≤ z ≤ 13.2, previously selected from JWST Near Infrared Camera imaging. The spectra reveal that these primeval galaxies are metal poor, have masses on the order of about 107–108 solar masses and young ages. The damping wings that shape the continuum close to the Lyman edge provide constraints on the neutral hydrogen fraction of the intergalactic medium from normal star-forming galaxies. These findings demonstrate the rapid emergence of the first generations of galaxies at cosmic dawn.
2023
Settore FIS/05 - Astronomia e Astrofisica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11384/130922
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