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    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 ultravioletmore »(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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    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 investigationmore »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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    With JWST, new opportunities to study the evolution of galaxies in the early Universe are emerging. Spitzer constraints on rest-optical properties of z ≳ 7 galaxies demonstrated the power of using galaxy stellar masses and star formation histories (SFHs) to indirectly infer the cosmic star formation history. However, only the brightest individual z ≳ 8 objects could be detected with Spitzer, making it difficult to robustly constrain activity at z ≳ 10. Here, we leverage the greatly improved rest-optical sensitivity of JWST at z ≳ 8 to constrain the ages of seven UV-bright ($M_{\rm uv}\lesssim -19.5$) galaxies selected to lie at z ∼ 8.5–11, then investigate implications for z ≳ 15 star formation. We infer the properties of individual objects with two spectral energy distribution modelling codes, then infer a distribution of ages for bright z ∼ 8.5–11 galaxies. We find a median age of ∼20 Myr, younger than that inferred at z ∼ 7 with a similar analysis, consistent with an evolution towards larger specific star formation rates at early times. The age distribution suggests that only ∼3 per cent of bright z ∼ 8.5–11 galaxies would be similarly luminous at z ≳ 15, implying that the number density of brightmore »galaxies declines by at least an order of magnitude between z ∼ 8.5–11 and $z \sim 15$. This evolution is challenging to reconcile with some early JWST results suggesting the abundance of bright galaxies does not significantly decrease towards very early times, but we suggest this tension may be eased if young stellar populations form on top of older stellar components, or if bright z ∼ 15 galaxies are observed during a burst of star formation.

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  4. Abstract

    We present ultradeep Keck/MOSFIRE rest-optical spectra of two star-forming galaxies atz= 2.18 in the COSMOS field with bright emission lines, representing more than 20 hr of total integration. The fidelity of these spectra enabled the detection of more than 20 unique emission lines for each galaxy, including the first detection of the auroral [Oii]λλ7322, 7332 lines at high redshift. We use these measurements to calculate the electron temperature in the low-ionization O+zone of the ionized interstellar medium and derive abundance ratios of O/H, N/H, and N/O using the direct method. The N/O andα/Fe abundance patterns of these galaxies are consistent with rapid formation timescales and ongoing strong starbursts, in accord with their high specific star formation rates. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using auroral [Oii] measurements for accurate metallicity studies at high redshift in a higher-metallicity and lower-excitation regime previously unexplored with the direct method in distant galaxies. These results also highlight the difficulty in obtaining the measurements required for direct-method metallicities from the ground. We emphasize the advantages that the JWST/NIRSpec instrument will bring to high-redshift metallicity studies, where the combination of increased sensitivity and uninterrupted wavelength coverage will yield more than an order of magnitude increasemore »in efficiency for multiplexed auroral-line surveys relative to current ground-based facilities. Consequently, the advent of JWST promises to be the beginning of a new era of precision chemical abundance studies of the early universe at a level of detail rivaling that of local galaxy studies.

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    Our understanding of reionization has advanced considerably over the past decade, with several results now demonstrating that the intergalactic medium transitioned from substantially neutral at z = 7 to largely reionized at z = 6. However, little remains known about the sizes of ionized bubbles at z ≳ 7 as well as the galaxy overdensities which drive their growth. Fortunately, rest-ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopic observations offer a pathway towards characterizing these ionized bubbles thanks to the resonant nature of Lyman-alpha photons. In a previous work, we presented Ly α detections from three closely separated Lyman-break galaxies at z ≃ 6.8, suggesting the presence of a large (R > 1 physical Mpc) ionized bubble in the 1.5 deg2 COSMOS field. Here, we present new deep Ly α spectra of 10 UV-bright ($\mathrm{\mathit{ M}}_{\mathrm{UV}}^{} \le -20.4$) z ≃ 6.6–6.9 galaxies in the surrounding area, enabling us to better characterize this potential ionized bubble. We confidently detect (S/N > 7) Ly α emission at z = 6.701–6.882 in nine of ten observed galaxies, revealing that the large-scale volume spanned by these sources (characteristic radius R = 3.2 physical Mpc) traces a strong galaxy overdensity (N/〈N〉 ≳ 3). Our data additionally confirm that the Lymore »α emission of UV-bright galaxies in this volume is significantly enhanced, with 40 per cent (4/10) showing strong Ly α emission (equivalent width >25 Å) compared to the 8–9 per cent found on average at z ∼ 7. The median Ly α equivalent width of our observed galaxies is also ≈2 times that typical at z ∼ 7, consistent with expectations if a very large (R ∼ 3 physical Mpc) ionized bubble is allowing the Ly α photons to cosmologically redshift far into the damping wing before encountering H i.

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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 suchmore »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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    We report the identification of radio (0.144–3 GHz) and mid-, far-infrared, and sub-mm (24–850μm) emission at the position of one of 41 UV-bright ($\mathrm{M_{\mathrm{UV}}}^{ }\lesssim -21.25$) z ≃ 6.6–6.9 Lyman-break galaxy candidates in the 1.5 deg2 COSMOS field. This source, COS-87259, exhibits a sharp flux discontinuity (factor >3) between two narrow/intermediate bands at 9450 and 9700 Å and is undetected in all nine bands blueward of 9600 Å, as expected from a Lyman alpha break at z ≃ 6.8. The full multiwavelength (X-ray through radio) data of COS-87529 can be self-consistently explained by a very massive (M* = 1010.8 M⊙) and extremely red (rest-UV slope β = −0.59) z ≃ 6.8 galaxy with hyperluminous infrared emission (LIR = 1013.6 L⊙) powered by both an intense burst of highly obscured star formation (SFR ≈ 1800 M⊙ yr−1) and an obscured ($\tau _{_{\mathrm{9.7\mu m}}} = 7.7\pm 2.5$) radio-loud (L1.4 GHz ≈ 1025.4 W Hz−1) active galactic nucleus (AGN). The radio emission is compact (1.04 ± 0.12 arcsec) and exhibits an ultra-steep spectrum between 1.32 and 3 GHz ($\alpha =-1.57^{+0.22}_{-0.21}$) that flattens at lower frequencies ($\alpha = -0.86^{+0.22}_{-0.16}$ between 0.144 and 1.32 GHz), consistent with known z > 4 radio galaxies. We also demonstrate that COS-87259 may reside in a significant (11×) galaxymore »overdensity, as common for systems hosting radio-loud AGN. While we find that low-redshift solutions to the optical + near-infrared data are not preferred, a spectroscopic redshift will ultimately be required to establish the true nature of COS-87259 beyond any doubt. If confirmed to lie at z ≃ 6.8, the properties of COS-87259 would be consistent with a picture wherein AGN and highly obscured star formation activity are fairly common among very massive (M* > 1010 M⊙) reionization-era galaxies.

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    Recent work has shown that UV-luminous reionization-era galaxies often exhibit strong Lyman-alpha emission despite being situated at redshifts where the IGM is thought to be substantially neutral. It has been argued that this enhanced Ly α transmission reflects the presence of massive galaxies in overdense regions which power large ionized bubbles. An alternative explanation is that massive galaxies shift more of their Ly α profile to large velocities (relative to the systemic redshift) where the IGM damping wing absorption is reduced. Such a mass-dependent trend is seen at lower redshifts, but whether one exists at z ∼ 7 remains unclear owing to the small number of existing systemic redshift measurements in the reionization era. This is now changing with the emergence of [C ii]-based redshifts from ALMA. Here, we report MMT/Binospec Ly α spectroscopy of eight UV-bright (MUV ∼ −22) galaxies at z ≃ 7 selected from the ALMA REBELS survey. We detect Ly α in four of eight galaxies and use the [C ii] systemic redshifts to investigate the Ly α velocity profiles. The Ly α lines are significantly redshifted from systemic (average velocity offset = 223 km s–1) and broad (FWHM ≈ 300–650 km s−1), with two sources showing emission extending to ≈750 km s−1. We find that the broadest Ly α profiles aremore »associated with the largest [C ii] line widths, suggesting a potential link between the Ly α FWHM and the dynamical mass. Since Ly α photons at high velocities transmit efficiently through the z = 7 IGM, our data suggest that velocity profiles play a significant role in boosting the Ly α visibility of the most UV-luminous reionization-era galaxies.

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    Cosmic dust is an essential component shaping both the evolution of galaxies and their observational signatures. How quickly dust builds up in the early Universe remains an open question that requires deep observations at (sub-)millimetre wavelengths to resolve. Here, we use Atacama Large Millimeter Array observations of 45 galaxies from the Reionization Era Bright Emission Line Survey (REBELS) and its pilot programs, designed to target [C ii] and dust emission in UV-selected galaxies at z ∼ 7, to investigate the dust content of high-redshift galaxies through a stacking analysis. We find that the typical fraction of obscured star formation fobs = SFRIR/SFRUV+IR depends on stellar mass, similar to what is observed at lower redshift, and ranges from fobs ≈ 0.3 − 0.6 for galaxies with log10(M⋆/M⊙) = 9.4–10.4. We further adopt the z ∼ 7 stellar mass function from the literature to extract the obscured cosmic star formation rate density (SFRD) from the REBELS survey. Our results suggest only a modest decrease in the SFRD between 3 ≲ z ≲ 7, with dust-obscured star formation still contributing ${\sim}30{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ at z ∼ 7. While we extensively discuss potential caveats, our analysis highlights the continued importance of dust-obscured star formation even well intomore »the epoch of reionization.

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    As the James Webb Space Telescope approaches scientific operation, there is much interest in exploring the redshift range beyond that accessible with Hubble Space Telescope imaging. Currently, the only means to gauge the presence of such early galaxies is to age-date the stellar population of systems in the reionisation era. As a significant fraction of z ≃ 7−8 galaxies are inferred from Spitzer photometry to have extremely intense [O iii] emission lines, it is commonly believed these are genuinely young systems that formed at redshifts z < 10, consistent with a claimed rapid rise in the star formation density at that time. Here, we study a spectroscopically confirmed sample of extreme [O iii] emitters at z = 1.3−3.7, using both dynamical masses estimated from [O iii] line widths and rest-frame UV to near-infrared photometry to illustrate the dangers of assuming such systems are genuinely young. For the most extreme of our intermediate redshift line emitters, we find dynamical masses 10−100 times that associated with a young stellar population mass, which are difficult to explain solely by the presence of additional dark matter or gaseous reservoirs. Adopting non-parametric star formation histories, we show how the near-infrared photometry of a subset of our sample reveals anmore »underlying old (>100 Myr) population whose stellar mass is ≃ 40 times that associated with the starburst responsible for the extreme line emission. Without adequate rest-frame near-infrared photometry, we argue it may be premature to conclude that extreme line emitters in the reionisation era are low-mass systems that formed at redshifts below z ≃ 10.

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