Discovery and properties of the earliest galaxies with confirmed distances

B. E. Robertson, S. Tacchella, B. D. Johnson, K. Hainline, L. Whitler, D. J. Eisenstein, R. Endsley, M. Rieke, D. P. Stark, S. Alberts, A. Dressler, E. Egami, R. Hausen, G. Rieke, I. Shivaei, C. C. Williams, C. N. A. Willmer, S. Arribas, N. Bonaventura, A. BunkerA. J. Cameron, S. Carniani, S. Charlot, J. Chevallard, M. Curti, E. Curtis-Lake, F. D'Eugenio, P. Jakobsen, T. J. Looser, N. Lützgendorf, R. Maiolino, M. V. Maseda, T. Rawle, H. -W. Rix, R. Smit, H. Übler, C. Willott, J. Witstok, S. Baum, R. Bhatawdekar, K. Boyett, Z. Chen, A. de Graaff, M. Florian, J. M. Helton, R. E. Hviding, Z. Ji, N. Kumari, J. Lyu, E. Nelson, L. Sandles, A. Saxena, K. A. Suess, F. Sun, M. Topping, I. E. B. Wallace

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Surveys with James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have discovered candidate galaxies in the first 400 Myr of cosmic time. The properties of these distant galaxies provide initial conditions for understanding early galaxy formation and cosmic reionisation. Preliminary indications have suggested these candidate galaxies may be more massive and abundant than previously thought. However, without spectroscopic confirmation of their distances to constrain their intrinsic brightnesses, their inferred properties remain uncertain. Here we report on four galaxies located in the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES) Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) imaging with photometric redshifts $z\sim10-13$ subsequently confirmed by JADES JWST Near- Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) observations. These galaxies include the first redshift $z>12$ systems both discovered and spectroscopically confirmed by JWST. Using stellar population modelling, we find the galaxies typically contain a hundred million solar masses in stars, in stellar populations that are less than one hundred million years old. The moderate star formation rates and compact sizes suggest elevated star formation rate surface densities, a key indicator of their formation pathways. Taken together, these measurements show that the first galaxies contributing to cosmic reionisation formed rapidly and with intense internal radiation fields.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalNature Astronomy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Feb 2023


  • astro-ph.GA
  • astro-ph.CO

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