The properties of Lyman break galaxies at z similar to 5

MN Bremer*, MD Lehnert, S Waddington, MJ Hardcastle, PJ Boyce, S Phillipps

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


In a recent paper, Lehnert & Bremer have photometrically selected a sample of Lyman break galaxies at z > 4.8 from a single VLT/FORS2 pointing and spectroscopically confirmed half of them to be at 4.8 <z <5.8. To study the properties of such galaxies further, we have photometrically selected a similar sample (V-AB > 28, i(AB) <26.3, i(AB) - z(AB) > 0) from the Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys (HST ACS) images of the Chandra Deep Field-South. This selection results in a sample of 44 sources from similar to150 arcmin(2).We find that such galaxies are often barely resolved in the ACS images, having half-light radii of 0.1-0.3 arcsec ( 0, which are generally galaxies of lower redshift. However, their distribution over the field is not uniform and their surface density varies considerably over areas comparable to a single 8-m or HST pointing. A reliable determination of the surface and volume densities of such galaxies requires a sky area considerably larger than the current ACS imaging of this field. No individual Lyman break candidate was detected to a 3sigma limit of 6 x 10(-17) erg s(-1) cm(-2) at 0.5-5 keV by Chandra (a limiting luminosity of below 2 x 10(43) erg s(-1) at z similar to5.3). By summing over all positions, we find that the mean source must be undetected at a level at least a factor of 4 times fainter than this. This rules out anything other than a weak active galactic nucleus (AGN) contribution to the emission from these objects; we conclude that luminous AGNs made little contribution to the final stages of re-ionization of the Universe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L7-L13
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • galaxies : distances and redshifts
  • galaxies : evolution
  • galaxies : formation cosmology : observations
  • early Universe


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