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Probing $\sim L_{*}$ Lyman-break Galaxies at $z\approx 7$ in GOODS-South with WFC3 on HST

Probing $\sim L_{*}$ Lyman-break Galaxies at $z\approx 7$ in GOODS-South with WFC3 on HST,Stephen M. Wilkins,Andrew J. Bunker,Richard S. Ellis,Daniel

Probing $\sim L_{*}$ Lyman-break Galaxies at $z\approx 7$ in GOODS-South with WFC3 on HST  
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We analyse recently acquired near-infrared Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the GOODS-South field to search for star forming galaxies at z~7.0. By comparing WFC 3 0.98 micron Y-band images with ACS z-band (0.85 micron) images, we identify objects with colours consistent with Lyman break galaxies at z~6.4-7.4. This new data covers an area five times larger than that previously reported in the WFC3 imaging of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, and affords a valuable constraint on the bright end of the luminosity function. Using additional imaging of the region in the ACS B, V and i-bands from GOODS v2.0 and the WFC3 J-band we attempt to remove any low-redshift interlopers. Our selection criteria yields 6 candidates brighter than Y_AB = 27.0, of which all except one are detected in the ACS z-band imaging and are thus unlikely to be transients. Assuming all 6 candidates are at z~7 this implies a surface density of objects brighter than Y_AB = 27.0 of 0.30\pm0.12 arcmin-2, a value significantly smaller than the prediction from the z ~ 6 luminosity function. This suggests continued evolution of the bright end of the luminosity function between z = 6 to 7, with number densities lower at higher redshift.
Published in 2009.
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