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  1. ABSTRACT

    Several studies have detected Lyman-alpha (Ly α) from bright ($M_{\small UV}\lesssim -21.5$) galaxies during the early stages of reionization despite the significantly neutral intergalactic medium. To explain these detections, it has been suggested that z > 7 Ly α emitters (LAEs) inhabit physical Mpc (pMpc)-scale ionized regions powered by overdensities of faint galaxies; however, systematic searches for these overdensities near LAEs have been challenging. Here, we use Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science JWST/Near Infrared Camera imaging to search for large-scale galaxy overdensities near two very ultraviolet (UV)-bright, z = 8.7 LAEs in the Extended Groth Strip (EGS) field. We colour select 27 z = 8.4–9.1 candidates, including the one LAE in the footprint (EGSY8p7). From spectral energy distribution models, we infer moderately faint UV luminosities ($-21.2\lesssim {M_{\small UV}}\lesssim -19.1$) and stellar masses of M* ≈ 107.5–8.8 M⊙. All are efficient ionizing agents ($\xi _{\text{ion}}^{*}\approx 10^{25.5-26.0}$ Hz erg−1) and are generally morphologically simple with only one compact (re ≲ 140 to ∼650 pc) star-forming component. 13 candidates lie within 5 arcmin of EGSY8p7, leading to a factor-of-four galaxy overdensity at ≲5 arcmin (∼1.4 projected pMpc at z ∼ 8.7) separations from EGSY8p7. Separations of 10–15 arcmin (∼2.7–4.1 projected pMpc) are consistent with an average field. The spatial distribution of our sample may qualitatively suggest an R ≥ 2 pMpc ionized bubble encompassing both LAEs in EGS, which is theoretically unexpected but may be possible for a galaxy population four times more numerous than the average to create with moderate escape fractions (fesc ≳ 0.15) over long times (≳ 200 Myr). Upcoming spectroscopic follow-up will characterize the size of any ionized bubble that may exist and the properties of the galaxies powering such a bubble.

     
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  2. ABSTRACT

    We describe JWST/NIRSpec prism measurements of Ly α emission in z ≳ 5 galaxies. We identify Ly α detections in 10 out of 69 galaxies with robust rest-optical emission-line redshift measurements at 5 ≤ z < 7 in the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) and DDT-2750 observations of the Extended Groth Strip field. Galaxies at z ≃ 6 with faint continuum (F150W=27–29 mag) are found with extremely large rest-frame Ly α equivalent widths (EWs; ranging up to 286 Å). Likely Ly α detections are also seen in two new z > 7 galaxies (z = 7.49 and 7.17) from the second epoch of CEERS observations, both showing large Ly α EWs that likely indicate significant transmission through the intergalactic medium (IGM). We measure high Ly α escape fractions in the 12 Ly α emitters in our sample (median 0.28), two of which show $f_{\rm esc}^{ {\rm Ly}\alpha }$ near unity (>0.80). We find that $50_{-11}^{+11}$ per cent of z ≃ 6 galaxies with [O iii] + H β EW>1000 Å have $f_{\rm esc}^{ {\rm Ly}\alpha }$ >0.2, consistent with the fractions found in lower redshift samples with matched [O iii] + H β EWs. While uncertainties are still significant, we find that only $10_{-5}^{+9}$ per cent of z > 7 galaxies with similarly strong rest optical emission lines show such large $f_{\rm esc}^{ {\rm Ly}\alpha }$, as may be expected if IGM attenuation of Ly α increases towards higher redshifts. We identify photometric galaxy overdensities near the z ≳ 7 Ly α emitters, potentially providing the ionizing flux necessary to create large ionized sightlines that facilitate Ly α transmission. Finally, we investigate the absence of Ly α emission in a comparable (and spectroscopically confirmed) galaxy overdensity at z = 7.88 in the Abell 2744 field, discussing new prism spectra of the field obtained with the UNCOVER program.

     
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  3. ABSTRACT

    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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  4. Abstract

    We study the kinematics of the interstellar medium (ISM) viewed “down the barrel” in 20 gravitationally lensed galaxies during cosmic noon (z= 1.5–3.5). We use moderate-resolution spectra (R∼ 4000) from Keck’s Echellette Spectrograph and Imager and Magellan/MagE to spectrally resolve the ISM absorption in these galaxies into ∼10 independent elements and use double Gaussian fits to quantify the velocity structure of the gas. We find that the bulk motion of gas in this galaxy sample is outflowing, with average velocity centroidvcent=141km s−1(±111 km s−1scatter) measured with respect to the systemic redshift. A total of 16 out of the 20 galaxies exhibit a clear positive skewness, with a blueshifted tail extending to ∼ −500 km s−1. We examine scaling relations in outflow velocities with galaxy stellar mass and star formation rate, finding correlations consistent with a momentum-driven wind scenario. Our measured outflow velocities are also comparable to those reported for FIRE-2 and TNG50 cosmological simulations at similar redshift and galaxy properties. We also consider implications for interpreting results from lower-resolution spectra. We demonstrate that while velocity centroids are accurately recovered, the skewness, velocity width, and probes of high-velocity gas (e.g.,v95) are subject to large scatter and biases at lower resolution. We find thatR≳ 1700 is required for accurate results for the gas kinematics of our sample. This work represents the largest available sample of well-resolved outflow velocity structure atz> 2 and highlights the need for good spectral resolution to recover accurate properties.

     
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  5. Abstract

    Using deep near-infrared Keck/MOSFIRE observations, we analyze the rest-optical spectra of eight star-forming galaxies in the COSMOS and GOODS-N fields. We reach integration times of ∼10 hr in the deepest bands, pushing the limits on current ground-based observational capabilities. The targets fall into two redshift bins, of five galaxies atz∼ 1.7 and three galaxies atz∼ 2.5, and were selected as likely to yield significant auroral-line detections. Even with long integration times, detection of the auroral lines remains challenging. We stack the spectra together into subsets based on redshift, improving the signal-to-noise ratio on the [Oiii]λ4364 auroral emission line and, in turn, enabling a direct measurement of the oxygen abundance for each stack. We compare these measurements to commonly employed strong-line ratios alongside measurements from the literature. We find that the stacks fall within the distribution ofz> 1 literature measurements, but a larger sample size is needed to robustly constrain the relationships between strong-line ratios and oxygen abundance at high redshift. We additionally report detections of [Oi]λ6302 for nine individual galaxies and composite spectra of 21 targets in the MOSFIRE pointings. We plot their line ratios on the [Oiii]λ5008/Hβversus [Oi]λ6302/Hαdiagnostic diagram, comparing our targets to local galaxies and Hiiregions. We find that the [Oi]/Hαratios in our sample of galaxies are consistent with being produced in gas ionized byα-enhanced massive stars, as has been previously inferred for rapidly forming galaxies at early cosmic times.

     
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  6. ABSTRACT

    The power-law slope of the rest-ultraviolet (UV) continuum (fλ ∝ λβ) is a key metric of early star-forming galaxies, providing one of our only windows into the stellar populations and physical conditions of z ≳ 10 galaxies. Expanding upon previous studies with limited sample sizes, we leverage deep imaging from the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) to investigate the UV slopes of 179 z ≳ 9 galaxies with apparent magnitudes of mF200W ≃ 26–31, which display a median UV slope of β = −2.4. We compare to a statistical sample of z ≃ 5–9 galaxies, finding a shift towards bluer rest-UV colours at all $M_{\rm UV}$. The most UV-luminous z ≳ 9 galaxies are significantly bluer than their lower redshift counterparts, representing a dearth of moderately red galaxies within the first 500 Myr. At yet earlier times, the z ≳ 11 galaxy population exhibits very blue UV slopes, implying very low impact from dust attenuation. We identify a robust sample of 44 galaxies with β ≲ −2.8, which have spectral energy distributions requiring models of density-bounded H ii regions and median ionizing photon escape fractions of 0.51 to reproduce. Their rest-optical colours imply that this sample has weaker emission lines (median mF356W − mF444W = 0.19 mag) than typical galaxies (median mF356W − mF444W = 0.39 mag), consistent with the inferred escape fractions. This sample consists of relatively low stellar masses (median $\log (M/{\rm M}_{\odot })=7.5\pm 0.2$), and specific star formation rates (sSFRs; median $=79 \, \rm Gyr^{-1}$) nearly twice that of our full galaxy sample (median sSFRs $=44 \, \rm Gyr^{-1}$), suggesting these objects are more common among systems experiencing a recent upturn in star formation. We demonstrate that the shutoff of star formation provides an alternative solution for modelling of extremely blue UV colours, making distinct predictions for the rest-optical emission of these galaxies. Future spectroscopy will be required to distinguish between these physical pictures.

     
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  7. ABSTRACT

    We present new observations of 16 bright (r = 19–21) gravitationally lensed galaxies at z ≃ 1–3 selected from the CASSOWARY survey. Included in our sample is the z = 1.42 galaxy CSWA-141, one of the brightest known reionization-era analogues at high redshift (g = 20.5), with a large specific star formation rate (31.2 Gyr−1) and an [O iii]+H β equivalent width (EW[O iii] + H β = 730 Å) that is nearly identical to the average value expected at z ≃ 7–8. In this paper, we investigate the rest-frame UV nebular line emission in our sample with the goal of understanding the factors that regulate strong C iii] emission. Although most of the sources in our sample show weak UV line emission, we find elevated C iii] in the spectrum of CSWA-141 (EWC iii] = 4.6 ± 1.9 Å) together with detections of other prominent emission lines (O iii], Si iii], Fe ii⋆, Mg ii). We compare the rest-optical line properties of high-redshift galaxies with strong and weak C iii] emission, and find that systems with the strongest UV line emission tend to have young stellar populations and nebular gas that is moderately metal-poor and highly ionized, consistent with trends seen at low and high redshift. The brightness of CSWA-141 enables detailed investigation of the extreme emission line galaxies which become common at z > 6. We find that gas traced by the C iii] doublet likely probes higher densities than that traced by [O ii] and [S ii]. Characterization of the spectrally resolved Mg ii emission line and several low-ionization absorption lines suggests neutral gas around the young stars is likely optically thin, potentially facilitating the escape of ionizing radiation.

     
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  8. ABSTRACT

    We present band 6 ALMA observations of a heavily obscured radio-loud (L1.4 GHz = 1025.4 W Hz−1) active galactic nucleus (AGN) candidate at zphot = 6.83 ± 0.06 found in the 1.5 deg2 COSMOS field. The ALMA data reveal detections of exceptionally strong [C ii]158 $\mu$m (z[C ii] = 6.8532) and underlying dust continuum emission from this object (COS-87259), where the [C ii] line luminosity, line width, and 158 $\mu$m continuum luminosity are comparable to those seen from z ∼ 7 sub-mm galaxies and quasar hosts. The 158 $\mu$m continuum detection suggests a total infrared luminosity of $9\times 10^{12}\, \mathrm{ L}_\odot$ with corresponding very large obscured star formation rate (1300 M⊙ yr−1) and dust mass ($2\times 10^9\, \mathrm{ M}_\odot$). The strong break seen between the VIRCam and IRAC photometry perhaps suggests that COS-87259 is an extremely massive reionization-era galaxy with $M_\ast \approx 1.7\times 10^{11}\, \mathrm{ M}_\odot$. Moreover, the MIPS, PACS, and SPIRE detections imply that this object harbours an AGN that is heavily obscured ($\tau _{_{\mathrm{9.7\,\mu m}}}=2.3$) with a bolometric luminosity of approximately $5\times 10^{13}\, \mathrm{ L}_\odot$. Such a very high AGN luminosity suggests that this object is powered by an ≈1.6 × 10$^9\, \mathrm{ M}_\odot$ black hole if accreting near the Eddington limit, and is effectively a highly obscured version of an extremely ultraviolet (UV)-luminous (M1450 ≈ −27.3) z ∼ 7 quasar. Notably, these z ∼ 7 quasars are an exceedingly rare population (∼0.001 deg−2), while COS-87259 was identified over a relatively small field. Future very wide area surveys with e.g. Roman and Euclid have the potential to identify many more extremely red yet UV-bright z ≳ 7 objects similar to COS-87259, providing richer insight into the occurrence of intense obscured star formation and supermassive black hole growth among this population.

     
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  9. Abstract

    We present a Keck/MOSFIRE rest-optical composite spectrum of 16 typical gravitationally lensed star-forming dwarf galaxies at 1.7 ≲z≲ 2.6 (zmean= 2.30), all chosen independent of emission-line strength. These galaxies have a median stellar mass oflog(M*/M)med=8.290.43+0.51and a median star formation rate ofSFRHαmed=2.251.26+2.15Myr1. We measure the faint electron-temperature-sensitive [Oiii]λ4363 emission line at 2.5σ(4.1σ) significance when considering a bootstrapped (statistical-only) uncertainty spectrum. This yields a direct-method oxygen abundance of12+log(O/H)direct=7.880.22+0.25(0.150.06+0.12Z). We investigate the applicability at highzof locally calibrated oxygen-based strong-line metallicity relations, finding that the local reference calibrations of Bian et al. best reproduce (≲0.12 dex) our composite metallicity at fixed strong-line ratio. At fixedM*, our composite is well represented by thez∼ 2.3 direct-method stellar mass—gas-phase metallicity relation (MZR) of Sanders et al. When comparing to predicted MZRs from the IllustrisTNG and FIRE simulations, having recalculated our stellar masses with more realistic nonparametric star formation histories(log(M*/M)med=8.920.22+0.31), we find excellent agreement with the FIRE MZR. Our composite is consistent with no metallicity evolution, at fixedM*and SFR, of the locally defined fundamental metallicity relation. We measure the doublet ratio [Oii]λ3729/[Oii]λ3726 = 1.56 ± 0.32 (1.51 ± 0.12) and a corresponding electron density ofne=10+215cm3(ne=10+74cm3) when considering the bootstrapped (statistical-only) error spectrum. This result suggests that lower-mass galaxies have lower densities than higher-mass galaxies atz∼ 2.

     
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  10. ABSTRACT

    The variety of star formation histories (SFHs) of z ≳ 6 galaxies provides important insights into early star formation, but has been difficult to systematically quantify. Some observations suggest that many z ∼ 6–9 galaxies are dominated by ≳200 Myr stellar populations, implying significant star formation at z ≳ 9, while others find that most reionization era galaxies are ≲10 Myr, consistent with little z ≳ 9 star formation. Here, we quantify the distribution of ages of UV-bright ($-22.5\lesssim M_{\rm \small UV}\lesssim -21$) galaxies colour-selected to lie at z ≃ 6.6–6.9, an ideal redshift range to systematically study the SFHs of reionization era galaxies with ground-based observatories and Spitzer. We infer galaxy properties with two SED modelling codes and compare results, finding that stellar masses are largely insensitive to the model, but the inferred ages can vary by an order of magnitude. We infer a distribution of ages assuming a simple, parametric SFH model, finding a median age of ∼30–70 Myr depending on SED model. We quantify the fractions of ≤10 and ≥250 Myr galaxies, finding that these systems comprise ∼15–30 per cent and ∼20–25 per cent of the population, respectively. With a flexible SFH model, the shapes of the SFHs are consistent with those implied by the simple model (e.g. young galaxies have rapidly rising SFHs). However, stellar masses can differ significantly, with those of young systems sometimes being more than an order of magnitude larger with the flexible SFH. We quantify the implications of these results for z ≳ 9 stellar mass assembly and discuss improvements expected from JWST.

     
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