RELICS: The Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey and the Brightest High-z Galaxies

Brett Salmon, Dan Coe, Larry Bradley, Rychard Bouwens, Marusa Bradač, Kuang Han Huang, Pascal A. Oesch, Daniel Stark, Keren Sharon, Michele Trenti, Roberto J. Avila, Sara Ogaz, Felipe Andrade-Santos, Daniela Carrasco, Catherine Cerny, William Dawson, Brenda L. Frye, Austin Hoag, Traci Lin Johnson, Christine JonesDaniel Lam, Lorenzo Lovisari, Ramesh Mainali, Matt Past, Rachel Paterno-Mahler, Avery Peterson, Adam G. Riess, Steven A. Rodney, Russel E. Ryan, Irene Sendra-Server, Victoria Strait, Louis Gregory Strolger, Keiichi Umetsu, Benedetta Vulcani, Adi Zitrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Massive foreground galaxy clusters magnify and distort the light of objects behind them, permitting a view into both the extremely distant and intrinsically faint galaxy populations. We present here the candidate high-redshift galaxies from the Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey (RELICS), a Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescope survey of 41 massive galaxy clusters spanning an area of ≈200 arcmin2. These clusters were selected to be excellent lenses, and we find similar high-redshift sample sizes and magnitude distributions as the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH). We discover 257, 57, and eight candidate galaxies at z ∼ 6, 7, and 8 respectively, (322 in total). The observed (lensed) magnitudes of the z ∼ 6 candidates are as bright as AB mag ∼23, making them among the brightest known at these redshifts, comparable with discoveries from much wider, blank-field surveys. RELICS demonstrates the efficiency of using strong gravitational lenses to produce high-redshift samples in the epoch of reionization. These brightly observed galaxies are excellent targets for follow-up study with current and future observatories, including the James Webb Space Telescope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number189
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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