Volume 642, October 2020
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||01 October 2020|
Letter to the Editor
Web of the giant: Spectroscopic confirmation of a large-scale structure around the z = 6.31 quasar SDSS J1030+0524
INAF – Osservatorio di Astrofisica e Scienza delle Spazio di Bologna, OAS, Via Gobetti 93/3, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino, Via Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
3 Department of Physics, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA
4 INAF – Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica (IASF), Via A. Corti 12, 20133 Milano, Italy
5 Institut de Ciències del Cosmos (ICCUB), Universitat de Barcelona (IEEC-UB), Martí i Franquès, 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
6 ICREA, Pg. Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
7 INAF – Istituto di Radioastronomia, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
8 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Via Gobetti 93/2, 40129 Bologna, Italy
9 Scuola Normale Superiore, Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, 56126 Pisa, Italy
10 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Dr., Baltimore, MD 21210, USA
11 Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Accepted: 31 August 2020
We report on the spectroscopic confirmation of a large-scale structure around the luminous z = 6.31 quasi-stellar object (QSO) SDSS J1030+0524, powered by a one billion solar mass black hole. The structure is populated by at least six members, namely, four Lyman-break galaxies (LBGs), and two Lyman alpha emitters (LAEs). The four LBGs were identified among a sample of 21 i-band dropouts with zAB < 25.5 selected up to projected separations of 5 physical Mpc (15 arcmin) from the QSO. Their redshifts were determined through multi-object spectroscopic observations at 8−10 m class telescopes lasting up to eight hours. The two LAEs were identified in a 6 h VLT/MUSE observation centered on the QSO. The redshifts of the six galaxies cover the range between 6.129−6.355. Assuming that the peculiar velocities are negligible, this range corresponds to radial separations of ±5 physical Mpc from the QSO, that is comparable to the projected scale of the observed LBG distribution on the sky. We conservatively estimate that this structure is significant at a level > 3.5σ and that the level of the galaxy overdensity is at least 1.5−2 within the large volume sampled (∼780 physical Mpc3). The spectral properties of the six member galaxies (Lyα strength and UV luminosity) are similar to those of field galaxies at similar redshifts. This is the first spectroscopic identification of a galaxy overdensity around a supermassive black hole in the first billion years of the Universe. Our finding lends support to the idea that the most distant and massive black holes form and grow within massive (>1012 M⊙) dark matter halos in large-scale structures and that the absence of earlier detections of such systems is likely due to observational limitations.
Key words: galaxies: high-redshift / quasars: general / quasars: supermassive black holes / quasars: individual: SDSSJ1030+0524
© ESO 2020
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