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    The high-redshift galaxy UV luminosity function (UVLF) has become essential for understanding the formation and evolution of the first galaxies. Yet, UVLFs only measure galaxy abundances, giving rise to a degeneracy between the mean galaxy luminosity and its stochasticity. Here, we show that upcoming clustering measurements with the JWST, as well as with Roman, will be able to break this degeneracy, even at redshifts z ≳ 10. First, we demonstrate that current Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) measurements of the galaxy bias at z ∼ 4–6 point to a relatively tight halo-galaxy connection, with low stochasticity. Then, we show that the larger UVLFs observed by JWST at z ≳ 10 can be explained with either a boosted average UV emission or an enhanced stochasticity. These two models, however, predict different galaxy biases, which are potentially distinguishable in JWST and Roman surveys. Galaxy-clustering measurements, therefore, will provide crucial insights into the connection between the first galaxies and their dark-matter haloes, and identify the root cause of the enhanced abundance of z ≳ 10 galaxies revealed with JWST during its first year of operations.

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    Over the last three decades, photometric galaxy selection using the Lyman-break technique has transformed our understanding of the high-z Universe, providing large samples of galaxies at $3 \lesssim z \lesssim 8$ with relatively small contamination. With the advent of the JWST, the Lyman-break technique has now been extended to z ∼ 17. However, the purity of the resulting samples has not been tested. Here, we use a simple model, built on the robust foundation of the dark matter halo mass function, to show that the expected level of contamination rises dramatically at $z \gtrsim 10$, especially for luminous galaxies, placing stringent requirements on the selection process. The most luminous sources at $z \gtrsim 12$ are likely at least 10 000 times rarer than potential contaminants, so extensive spectroscopic follow-up campaigns may be required to identify a small number of target sources.

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    Early observations with JWST indicate an overabundance of bright galaxies at redshifts z ≳ 10 relative to Hubble-calibrated model predictions. More puzzling still is the apparent lack of evolution in the abundance of such objects between z ∼ 9 and the highest redshifts yet probed, z ∼ 13–17. In this study, we first show that, despite a poor match with JWST luminosity functions (LFs), semi-empirical models calibrated to rest-ultraviolet LFs and colours at 4 ≲ z ≲ 8 are largely consistent with constraints on the properties of individual JWST galaxies, including their stellar masses, ages, and spectral slopes. We then show that order-of-magnitude scatter in the star formation rate of galaxies (at fixed halo mass) can indeed boost the abundance of bright galaxies, provided that star formation is more efficient than expected in low-mass haloes. However, this solution to the abundance problem introduces tension elsewhere: because it relies on the upscattering of low-mass haloes into bright magnitude bins, one expects typical ages, masses, and spectral slopes to be much lower than constraints from galaxies observed thus far. This tension can be alleviated by non-negligible reddening, suggesting that – if the first batch of photometrically selected candidates are confirmed – star formation and dust production could be more efficient than expected in galaxies at z ≳ 10.

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  4. Abstract

    The cross-correlation between the 21 cm field and the galaxy distribution is a potential probe of the Epoch of Reionization (EoR). The 21 cm signal traces neutral gas in the intergalactic medium and, on large spatial scales, this should be anticorrelated with the high-redshift galaxy distribution, which partly sources and tracks the ionized gas. In the near future, interferometers such as the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) are projected to provide extremely sensitive measurements of the 21 cm power spectrum. At the same time, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (Roman) will produce the most extensive catalog to date of bright galaxies from the EoR. Using seminumeric simulations of reionization, we explore the prospects for measuring the cross-power spectrum between the 21 cm and galaxy fields during the EoR. We forecast a 12σdetection between HERA and Roman, assuming an overlapping survey area of 500 deg2, redshift uncertainties ofσz= 0.01 (as expected for the high-latitude spectroscopic survey of Lyα-emitting galaxies), and an effective Lyαemitter duty cycle offLAE= 0.1. Thus the HERA–Roman cross-power spectrum may be used to help verify 21 cm detections from HERA. We find that the shot-noise in the galaxy distribution is a limiting factor for detection, and so supplemental observations using Roman should prioritize deeper observations, rather than covering a wider field of view. We have made a public GitHub repository containing key parts of the calculation, which accompanies this paper:

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    In recent years, several analytic models have demonstrated that simple assumptions about halo growth and feedback-regulated star formation can match the (limited) existing observational data on galaxies at $z \gtrsim6$. By extending such models, we demonstrate that imposing a time delay on stellar feedback (as inevitably occurs in the case of supernova explosions) induces burstiness in small galaxies. Although supernova progenitors have short lifetimes (∼5–30 Myr), the delay exceeds the dynamical time of galaxies at such high redshifts. As a result, star formation proceeds unimpeded by feedback for several cycles and ‘overshoots’ the expectations of feedback-regulated star formation models. We show that such overshoot is expected even in atomic cooling haloes, with halo masses up to ∼1010.5 M⊙ at z ≳ 6. However, these burst cycles damp out quickly in massive galaxies, because large haloes are more resistant to feedback so retain a continuous gas supply. Bursts in small galaxies – largely beyond the reach of existing observations – induce a scatter in the luminosity of these haloes (of ∼1 mag) and increase the time-averaged star formation efficiency by up to an order of magnitude. This kind of burstiness can have substantial effects on the earliest phases of star formation and reionization.

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    Upper limits from the current generation of interferometers targeting the 21-cm signal from high redshifts have recently begun to rule out physically realistic, though still extreme, models of the Epoch of Reionization (EoR). While inferring the detailed properties of the first galaxies is one of the most important motivations for measuring the high-z 21-cm signal, they can also provide useful constraints on the properties of the intergalactic medium (IGM). Motivated by this, we build a simple, phenomenological model for the 21-cm power spectrum that works directly in terms of IGM properties, which bypasses the computationally expensive 3D semi-numerical modeling generally employed in inference pipelines and avoids explicit assumptions about galaxy properties. The key simplifying assumptions are that (i) the ionization field is binary, and composed of spherical bubbles with an abundance described well by a parametric bubble size distribution, and (ii) that the spin temperature of the ‘bulk’ IGM outside bubbles is uniform. Despite the simplicity of the model, the mean ionized fraction and spin temperature of the IGM recovered from mock 21-cm power spectra generated with 21cm fast are generally in good agreement with the true input values. This suggests that it is possible to obtain comparable constraints on the IGM using models with very different assumptions, parameters, and priors. Our approach will thus be complementary to semi-numerical models as upper limits continue to improve in the coming years.

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  7. ABSTRACT The cosmic near-infrared background (NIRB) offers a powerful integral probe of radiative processes at different cosmic epochs, including the pre-reionization era when metal-free, Population III (Pop III) stars first formed. While the radiation from metal-enriched, Population II (Pop II) stars likely dominates the contribution to the observed NIRB from the reionization era, Pop III stars – if formed efficiently – might leave characteristic imprints on the NIRB, thanks to their strong Lyα emission. Using a physically motivated model of first star formation, we provide an analysis of the NIRB mean spectrum and anisotropy contributed by stellar populations at z > 5. We find that in circumstances where massive Pop III stars persistently form in molecular cooling haloes at a rate of a few times $10^{-3}\, \mathrm{ M}_\odot \ \mathrm{yr}^{-1}$, before being suppressed towards the epoch of reionization (EoR) by the accumulated Lyman–Werner background, a unique spectral signature shows up redward of $1\, \mu$m in the observed NIRB spectrum sourced by galaxies at z > 5. While the detailed shape and amplitude of the spectral signature depend on various factors including the star formation histories, initial mass function, LyC escape fraction and so forth, the most interesting scenarios with efficient Pop III star formation are within the reach of forthcoming facilities, such as the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer. As a result, new constraints on the abundance and formation history of Pop III stars at high redshifts will be available through precise measurements of the NIRB in the next few years. 
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  8. ABSTRACT We investigate the effects of Population III (Pop III) stars and their remnants on the cosmological 21-cm global signal. By combining a semi-analytic model of Pop III star formation with a global 21-cm simulation code, we investigate how X-ray and radio emission from accreting Pop III black holes may affect both the timing and depth of the 21-cm absorption feature that follows the initial onset of star formation during the Cosmic Dawn. We compare our results to the findings of the EDGES experiment, which has reported the first detection of a cosmic 21-cm signal. In general, we find that our fiducial Pop III models, which have peak star formation rate densities of ∼10−4 M⊙ yr−1 Mpc−3 between z ∼ 10 and z ∼ 15, are able to match the timing of the EDGES signal quite well, in contrast to models that ignore Pop III stars. To match the unexpectedly large depth of the EDGES signal without recourse to exotic physics, we vary the parameters of emission from accreting black holes (formed as Pop III remnants) including the intrinsic strength of X-ray and radio emission as well as the local column density of neutral gas. We find that models with strong radio emission and relatively weak X-ray emission can self-consistently match the EDGES signal, though this solution requires fine-tuning. We are only able to produce signals with sharp features similar to the EDGES signal if the Pop III IMF is peaked narrowly around $140 \, \mathrm{M}_\odot$. 
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