EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 412, Number 2, December III 2003
Page(s) L57 - L60
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20034608

A&A 412, L57-L60 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20034608


Discovery of a faint R-band drop-out: A strongly reddened lensed star forming galaxy at z = 1.68

J. Richard1, D. Schaerer2, 1, R. Pelló1, J.-F. Le Borgne1 and J.-P. Kneib3, 1

1  Laboratoire d'Astrophysique (UMR 5572), Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, 14 avenue E. Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
2  Observatoire de Genève, 51, Ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
3  Caltech Astronomy, MC105-24, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

(Received 1 October 2003 / Accepted 6 November 2003)

We report the discovery of an unusual emission line galaxy at redshift z=1.68 found from near-IR imaging and spectroscopic observations with ISAAC/VLT of a faint gravitationally lensed R-band drop-out behind the lensing cluster Abell 1835. From the emission lines of [O III] $\lambda\lambda$4959, 5007, and H $\beta$ this galaxy shows a moderate to high excitation and line equivalent widths typical of relatively metal-poor H II galaxies. Its apparent J magnitude translates to an absolute B-band magnitude $M_B \sim -16.4$ once corrected for a gravitational magnification of 1.8 mag. This makes it one of the faintest intermediate redshift galaxies known so far. From the presence of emission lines and the available VRIJHK photometry we determine constraints on its dominant stellar population. The only viable fit found is for a fairly young (~6-9 Myr) burst suffering from a considerable extinction ( $A_V \sim 1.2{-}1.8$ mag). We find that this object resembles strongly H II galaxies and intermediate redshift compact emission line galaxies, albeit suffering from a larger extinction than usual. We also discuss the possible contamination introduced by such R-band drop-out galaxies in searches for $z \ga 5$ galaxies.

Key words: galaxies: high-redshift -- galaxies: evolution -- galaxies: starburst -- galaxies: active -- infrared: galaxies

Offprint request: J. Richard, jrichard@ast.obs-mip.fr

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