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    Nearly a decade ago, we began to see indications that reionization-era galaxies power hard radiation fields rarely seen at lower redshift. Most striking were detections of nebular C iv emission in what appeared to be typical low-mass galaxies, requiring an ample supply of 48 eV photons to triply ionize carbon. We have obtained deep JWST/NIRSpec R = 1000 spectroscopy of the two z > 6 C iv-emitting galaxies known prior to JWST. Here, we present a rest-UV to optical spectrum of one of these two systems, the multiply-imaged z = 6.1 lensed galaxy RXCJ2248-ID. NIRCam imaging reveals two compact (<22 pc) clumps separated by 220 pc, with one comprising a dense concentration of massive stars (>10 400 M⊙ yr−1 kpc−2) formed in a recent burst. We stack spectra of 3 images of the galaxy (J = 24.8–25.9), yielding a very deep spectrum providing a high-S/N template of strong emission line sources at z > 6. The spectrum reveals narrow high-ionization lines (He ii, C iv, N iv]) with line ratios consistent with powering by massive stars. The rest-optical spectrum is dominated by very strong emission lines ([O iii] EW = 2800 Å), albeit with weak emission from low-ionization transitions ([O iii]/[O ii] = 184). The electron density is found to be very high (6.4–31.0 × 104 cm−3) based on three UV transitions. The ionized gas is metal poor ($12+\log (\rm O/H)=7.43^{+0.17}_{-0.09}$), yet highly enriched in nitrogen ($\log (\rm N/O)=-0.39^{+0.11}_{-0.10}$). The spectrum appears broadly similar to that of GNz11 at z = 10.6, without showing the same AGN signatures. We suggest that the hard radiation field and rapid nitrogen enrichment may be a short-lived phase that many z > 6 galaxies go through as they undergo strong bursts of star formation. We comment on the potential link of such spectra to globular cluster formation.

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    The first deep-field observations of the JWST have immediately yielded a surprisingly large number of very high redshift candidates, pushing the frontier of observability well beyond z ≳ 10. We here present a detailed SED-fitting analysis of the 10 gravitationally lensed z ∼ 9–16 galaxy candidates detected behind the galaxy cluster SMACS J0723.3−7327 in a previous paper using the BEAGLE tool. Our analysis makes use of dynamical considerations to place limits on the ages of these galaxies and of all three published SL models of the cluster to account for lensing systematics. We find the majority of these galaxies to have relatively low stellar masses $M_{\star }\sim 10^7-10^8\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ and young ages tage ∼ 10–100 Myr but with a few higher mass exceptions ($M_{\star }\sim 10^9\rm{-}10^{10}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) due to Balmer-break detections at z ∼ 9–10. Because of their very blue UV-slopes, down to β ∼ −3, all of the galaxies in our sample have extremely low dust attenuations AV ≲ 0.02. Placing the measured parameters into relation, we find a very shallow M⋆ − MUV-slope and high sSFRs above the main sequence of star formation with no significant redshift-evolution in either relation. This is in agreement with the bright UV luminosities measured for these objects and indicates that we are naturally selecting UV-bright galaxies that are undergoing intense star formation at the time they are observed. Finally, we discuss the robustness of our high-redshift galaxy sample regarding low-redshift interlopers and conclude that low-redshift solutions can safely be ruled out for roughly half of the sample, including the highest redshift galaxies at z ∼ 12–16. These objects represent compelling targets for spectroscopic follow-up observations with JWST and ALMA.

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  3. Abstract

    The James Webb Space Telescope is revealing a new population of dust-reddened broad-line active galactic nuclei (AGN) at redshiftsz≳ 5. Here we present deep NIRSpec/Prism spectroscopy from the Cycle 1 Treasury program Ultradeep NIRSpec and NIRCam ObserVations before the Epoch of Reionization (UNCOVER) of 15 AGN candidates selected to be compact, with red continua in the rest-frame optical but with blue slopes in the UV. From NIRCam photometry alone, they could have been dominated by dusty star formation or an AGN. Here we show that the majority of the compact red sources in UNCOVER are dust-reddened AGN: 60% show definitive evidence for broad-line Hαwith a FWHM > 2000 km s−1, 20% of the current data are inconclusive, and 20% are brown dwarf stars. We propose an updated photometric criterion to select redz> 5 AGN that excludes brown dwarfs and is expected to yield >80% AGN. Remarkably, among allzphot> 5 galaxies with F277W – F444W > 1 in UNCOVER at least 33% are AGN regardless of compactness, climbing to at least 80% AGN for sources with F277W – F444W > 1.6. The confirmed AGN have black hole masses of 107–109M. While their UV luminosities (−16 >MUV> −20 AB mag) are low compared to UV-selected AGN at these epochs, consistent with percent-level scattered AGN light or low levels of unobscured star formation, the inferred bolometric luminosities are typical of 107–109Mblack holes radiating at ∼10%–40% the Eddington limit. The number densities are surprisingly high at ∼10−5Mpc−3mag−1, 100 times more common than the faintest UV-selected quasars, while accounting for ∼1% of the UV-selected galaxies. While their UV faintness suggests they may not contribute strongly to reionization, their ubiquity poses challenges to models of black hole growth.

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    We present the results of a search for high-redshift (z > 9) galaxy candidates in the JWST UNCOVER survey, using deep NIRCam and NIRISS imaging in seven bands over ∼45 arcmin2 and ancillary Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations. The NIRCam observations reach a 5σ limiting magnitude of ∼29.2 AB. The identification of high-z candidates relies on a combination of a dropout selection and photometric redshifts. We find 16 candidates at 9 < z < 12 and three candidates at 12 < z < 13, eight candidates are deemed very robust. Their lensing amplification ranges from μ = 1.2 to 11.5. Candidates have a wide range of (lensing corrected) luminosities and young ages, with low stellar masses [6.8 < log(M⋆/M⊙) < 9.5] and low star formation rates (SFR = 0.2–7 M⊙ yr−1), confirming previous findings in early JWST observations of z > 9. A few galaxies at z ∼ 9−10 appear to show a clear Balmer break between the F356W and F444W/F410M bands, which helps constrain their stellar mass. We estimate blue UV continuum slopes between β = −1.8 and −2.3, typical for early galaxies at z > 9 but not as extreme as the bluest recently discovered sources. We also find evidence for a rapid redshift-evolution of the mass-luminosity relation and a redshift evolution of the UV continuum slope for a given range of intrinsic magnitude, in line with theoretical predictions. These findings suggest that deeper JWST observations are needed to reach the fainter galaxy population at those early epochs, and follow-up spectroscopy will help better constrain the physical properties and star formation histories of a larger sample of galaxies.

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    One of the main goals of the JWST is to study the first galaxies in the Universe. We present a systematic photometric analysis of very distant galaxies in the first JWST deep field towards the massive lensing cluster SMACS0723. As a result, we report the discovery of two galaxy candidates at z ∼ 16, only 250 million years after the big bang. We also identify two candidates at z ∼ 12 and six candidates at z ∼ 9−11. Our search extended out to z ≲ 21 by combining colour information across seven near-infrared camera and near-infrared imager and slitless spectrograph filters. By modelling the Spectral Energy Distributions (SEDs) with EAZY and BEAGLE, we test the robustness of the photometric redshift estimates. While their intrinsic (unlensed) luminosity is typical of the characteristic luminosity L* at z > 10, our high-redshift galaxies typically show small sizes and their morphologies are consistent with disks in some cases. The highest-redshift candidates have extremely blue ultraviolet-continuum slopes −3 < β < −2.4, young ages ∼10−100 Myr, and stellar masses around log (M⋆/M⊙) = 8.8 inferred from their spectral energy distribution modelling, which indicate a rapid build-up of their stellar mass. Our search clearly demonstrates the capabilities of JWST to uncover robust photometric candidates up to very high redshifts and peer into the formation epoch of the first galaxies.

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    We report the discovery of a double-peaked Lyman-α (Ly α) emitter (LAE) at z = 3.2177 ± 0.0001 in VLT/MUSE data. The galaxy is strongly lensed by the galaxy cluster RXC J0018.5+1626 recently observed in the RELICS survey, and the double-peaked Ly α emission is clearly detected in the two counter images in the MUSE field of view. We measure a relatively high Ly α rest-frame equivalent width (EW) of EWLy α, 0 = (63 ± 2) Å. Additional spectroscopy with Gemini/GNIRS in the near-infrared (NIR) allows us to measure the H β, [O iii] λ4959 Å, and [O iii] λ5007 Å emission lines, which show moderate rest-frame EWs of the order of a few ∼10–100 Å, an [O iii] λ5007 Å/H β ratio of 4.8 ± 0.7, and a lower limit on the [O iii]/[O ii] ratio of >9.3. The galaxy has very blue UV-continuum slopes of βFUV = −2.23 ± 0.06 and βNUV = −3.0 ± 0.2, and is magnified by factors μ ∼ 7–10 in each of the two images, thus enabling a view into a low-mass ($M_{\star }\simeq 10^{7.5}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) high-redshift galaxy analogue. Notably, the blue peak of the Ly α profile is significantly stronger than the red peak, which suggests an inflow of matter and possibly very low H i column densities in its circumgalactic gas. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detection of such a Ly α profile. Combined with the high lensing magnification and image multiplicity, these properties make this galaxy a prime candidate for follow-up observations to search for LyC emission and constrain the LyC photon escape fraction.

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    The Reionization Cluster Survey imaged 41 galaxy clusters with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), in order to detect lensed and high-redshift galaxies. Each cluster was imaged to about 26.5 AB mag in three optical and four near-infrared bands, taken in two distinct visits separated by varying time intervals. We make use of the multiple near-infrared epochs to search for transient sources in the cluster fields, with the primary motivation of building statistics for bright caustic crossing events in gravitational arcs. Over the whole sample, we do not find any significant (≳5σ) caustic crossing events, in line with expectations from semi-analytical calculations but in contrast to what may be naively expected from previous detections of some bright events or from deeper transient surveys that do find high rates of such events. Nevertheless, we find six prominent supernova (SN) candidates over the 41 fields: three of them were previously reported and three are new ones reported here for the first time. Out of the six candidates, four are likely core-collapse SNe – three in cluster galaxies, and among which only one was known before, and one slightly behind the cluster at z ∼ 0.6–0.7. The other two are likely Ia – both of them previously known, one probably in a cluster galaxy and one behind it at z ≃ 2. Our study supplies empirical bounds for the rate of caustic crossing events in galaxy cluster fields to typical HST magnitudes, and lays the groundwork for a future SN rate study.

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  8. Abstract

    We report the discovery of four galaxy candidates observed 450–600 Myr after the Big Bang with photometric redshifts betweenz∼ 8.3 and 10.2 measured using James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) NIRCam imaging of the galaxy cluster WHL0137−08 observed in eight filters spanning 0.8–5.0μm, plus nine Hubble Space Telescope filters spanning 0.4–1.7μm. One candidate is gravitationally lensed with a magnification ofμ∼ 8, while the other three are located in a nearby NIRCam module with expected magnifications ofμ≲ 1.1. Using SED fitting, we estimate the stellar masses of these galaxies are typically in the rangelogM/M= 8.3–8.7. All appear young, with mass-weighted ages <240 Myr, low dust contentAV< 0.15 mag, and specific star formation rates sSFR ∼0.25–10 Gyr−1for most. Onez∼ 9 candidate is consistent with an age <5 Myr and an sSFR ∼10 Gyr−1, as inferred from a strong F444W excess, implying [Oiii]+Hβrest-frame equivalent width ∼2000 Å, although an olderz∼ 10 object is also allowed. Anotherz∼ 9 candidate is lensed into an arc 2.″4 long with a magnification ofμ∼ 8. This arc is the most spatially resolved galaxy atz∼ 9 known to date, revealing structures ∼30 pc across. Follow-up spectroscopy of WHL0137−08 with JWST/NIRSpec will be useful to spectroscopically confirm these high-redshift galaxy candidates and to study their physical properties in more detail.

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  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 15, 2024
  10. Abstract

    The James Webb Space Telescope is now detecting early black holes (BHs) as they transition from “seeds” to supermassive BHs. Recently, Bogdan et al. reported the detection of an X-ray luminous supermassive BH, UHZ-1, with a photometric redshift atz> 10. Such an extreme source at this very high redshift provides new insights on seeding and growth models for BHs given the short time available for formation and growth. Harnessing the exquisite sensitivity of JWST/NIRSpec, here we report the spectroscopic confirmation of UHZ-1 atz= 10.073 ± 0.002. We find that the NIRSpec/Prism spectrum is typical of recently discoveredz≈ 10 galaxies, characterized primarily by star formation features. We see no clear evidence of the powerful X-ray source in the rest-frame UV/optical spectrum, which may suggest heavy obscuration of the central BH, in line with the Compton-thick column density measured in the X-rays. We perform a stellar population fit simultaneously to the new NIRSpec spectroscopy and previously available photometry. The fit yields a stellar-mass estimate for the host galaxy that is significantly better constrained than prior photometric estimates (M1.40.4+0.3×108M). Given the predicted BH mass (MBH∼ 107–108M), the resulting ratio ofMBH/Mremains 2 to 3 orders of magnitude higher than local values, thus lending support to the heavy seeding channel for the formation of supermassive BHs within the first billion years of cosmic evolution.

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