A narrow-band search for Ly emitting galaxies at z = 8.8
Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, BP 8, 13376 Marseille Cedex 12, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 European Southern Observatory, Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
4 Leiden Observatory, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Accepted: 12 October 2006
Aims.The first star forming galaxies in the early universe should be copious Lyα emitters and may play a significant role in ionizing the intergalactic medium (IGM). It has been proposed that the luminosity function of Lyα emitting galaxies beyond z ~ 6 may be used to constrain the neutral fraction of the IGM during this epoch. In this work we report on a search for Lyα emitters at redshift 8.8.
Methods.We performed a narrow band imaging programme using ISAAC at the ESO VLT. Seven fields, covering a total area of 31 sq. arcmin and for which optical and broad band infra-red images have been obtained in the GOODS survey, were imaged to a limiting flux (respectively luminosity) of ~1.3 10-17 erg s-1 cm-2 (respectively ~1.3 1043 erg s-1) in a narrow band filter centered in a region of low OH sky emission at 1.19 μm. Candidate Lyα emitters are objects that are detected in the ISAAC NB images and undetected in the visible broad band images.
Results.No Lyα emitting galaxies were detected to a limit approaching recent estimates of the luminosity function at . Our results do suggest, however, that detections or substantial constraints could be achieved by this method in the near future with larger field instruments planned for various telescopes.
Key words: galaxies: luminosity function, mass function / cosmology: early Universe
© ESO, 2007