Probing ∼L Lyman-break galaxies at z≈ 7 in GOODS-South with WFC3 on Hubble Space Telescope

Stephen M. Wilkins, Andrew J. Bunker, Richard S. Ellis, Daniel Stark, Elizabeth R. Stanway, Kuenley Chiu, Silvio Lorenzoni, Matt J. Jarvis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


We analyse recently acquired near-infrared Hubble Space Telescope imaging of the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS)-South field to search for star-forming galaxies at z≈ 7.0. By comparing Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) 0.98 μm Y-band images with Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS)z-band (0.85 μm) images, we identify objects with colours consistent with Lyman-break galaxies at z≃ 6.4-7.4. This new data cover 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 WFC. 3J band, we attempt to remove any low-redshift interlopers. Our selection criteria yields six candidates brighter than YAB= 27.0, of which all except one are detected in the ACS z-band imaging and are thus unlikely to be transients. Assuming all six candidates are atz≈ 7, this implies a surface density of objects brighter than YAB= 27.0 of 0.30 ± 0.12 arcmin-2, a value significantly smaller than the prediction from z≈ 6 luminosity function. This suggests continued evolution of the bright end of the luminosity function betweenz= 6 and 7, with number densities lower at higher redshift.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)938-944
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Galaxies: starburst
  • Ultraviolet: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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