Bright Lyα emitters at z ~ 9: Constraints on the LF from HizELS

D. Sobral, P.N. Best, J.E. Geach, I. Smail, J. Kurk, M. Cirasuolo, M. Casali, R.J. Ivison, Kristen Coppin, G.B. Dalton

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Abstract

New results are presented, as part of the Hi-z Emission Line Survey (HizELS), from the largest area survey to date (1.4 deg ) for Lyα emitters (LAEs) at z ~ 9. The survey, which is primarily targeting Hα emitters at z <3, uses the Wide Field CAMera on the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope and a custom narrow-band filter in the J band and reaches a Lyα luminosity limit of ~10 ergs over a co-moving volume of 1.12 × 10 Mpc at z = 8.96 ± 0.06. Only two candidates were found out of 1517 line emitters and those were rejected as LAEs after follow-up observations. The limit on the space density of bright LAEs is improved by three orders of magnitude, consistent with suppression of the bright end of the Lyα luminosity function beyond z ~ 6. Combined with upper limits from smaller but deeper surveys, this rules out some of the most extreme models for high-redshift LAEs. The potential contamination of future narrow-band Lyα surveys at z > 7 by Galactic brown dwarf stars is also examined, leading to the conclusion that such contamination may well be significant for searches at 7.7 <z <8.0, 9.1 <z <9.5 and 11.7 <z <12.2.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L68-L72
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Volume398
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2009

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