RELICS-DP7: Spectroscopic Confirmation of a Dichromatic Primeval Galaxy at z 7

Debora Pelliccia, Victoria Strait, Brian C. Lemaux, Maruša Bradač, Dan Coe, Patricia Bolan, Larry D. Bradley, Brenda Frye, Pratik J. Gandhi, Ramesh Mainali, Charlotte Mason, Masami Ouchi, Keren Sharon, Michele Trenti, Adi Zitrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We report the discovery of a spectroscopically confirmed strong Ly emitter at z = 7.0281 ± 0.0003, observed as part of the Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey (RELICS). This galaxy, dubbed "Dichromatic Primeval Galaxy"at z 7 (DP7), shows two distinct components. While fairly unremarkable in terms of its ultraviolet (UV) luminosity, where is the characteristic luminosity), DP7 has one of the highest observed Ly equivalent widths (EWs) among Ly emitters at z > 6 (>200 Å in the rest frame). The strong Ly emission generally suggests a young metal-poor, low-dust galaxy; however, we find that the UV slope β of the galaxy as a whole is redder than typical star-forming galaxies at these redshifts,-1.13 ± 0.84, likely indicating, on average, a considerable amount of dust obscuration, or an older stellar population. When we measure β for the two components separately, however, we find evidence of differing UV colors, suggesting two separate stellar populations. Also, we find that Ly is spatially extended and likely larger than the galaxy size, hinting to the possible existence of a Ly halo. Rejuvenation or merging events could explain these results. Either scenario requires an extreme stellar population, possibly including a component of Population III stars, or an obscured active galactic nucleus. DP7, with its low UV luminosity and high Ly EW, represents the typical galaxies that are thought to be the major contribution to the reionization of the universe, and for this reason DP7 is an excellent target for follow-up with the James Webb Space Telescope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL30
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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