Publications by Rebecca Bowler


Unveiling the nature of bright z ≃ 7 galaxies with the Hubble Space Telescope

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 466 (2017) 3612-3635

R Bowler, JS Dunlop, RJ McLure, DJ McLeod

We present new Hubble Space Telescope/Wide Field Camera 3 (HST/WFC3) imaging of 25 extremely luminous (−23.2 ≤ MUV ≲ −21.2) Lyman-break galaxies (LBGs) at z ≃ 7. The sample was initially selected from 1.65 deg2 of ground-based imaging in the UltraVISTA/COSMOS and UDS/SXDS fields, and includes the extreme Lyman α emitters, ‘Himiko’ and ‘CR7’. A deconfusion analysis of the deep Spitzer photometry available suggests that these galaxies exhibit strong rest-frame optical nebular emission lines (EW0(Hβ + [O iii]) > 600 Å). We find that irregular, multiple-component morphologies suggestive of clumpy or merging systems are common (fmulti > 0.4) in bright z ≃ 7 galaxies, and ubiquitous at the very bright end (MUV < −22.5). The galaxies have half-light radii in the range r1/2 ∼ 0.5–3 kpc. The size measurements provide the first determination of the size–luminosity relation at z ≃ 7 that extends to MUV ∼ −23. We find the relation to be steep with r1/2 ∝ L1/2. Excluding clumpy, multicomponent galaxies however, we find a shallower relation that implies an increased star formation rate surface density in bright LBGs. Using the new, independent, HST/WFC3 data we confirm that the rest-frame UV luminosity function at z ≃ 7 favours a power-law decline at the bright end, compared to an exponential Schechter function drop-off. Finally, these results have important implications for the Euclid mission, which we predict will detect >1000 similarly bright galaxies at z ≃ 7. Our new HST imaging suggests that the vast majority of these galaxies will be spatially resolved by Euclid, mitigating concerns over dwarf star contamination.


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