JADES Imaging of GN-z11: Revealing the Morphology and Environment of a Luminous Galaxy 430 Myr after the Big Bang

Sandro Tacchella, Daniel J. Eisenstein, Kevin Hainline, Benjamin D. Johnson, William M. Baker, Jakob M. Helton, Brant Robertson, Katherine A. Suess, Zuyi Chen, Erica Nelson, Dávid Puskás, Fengwu Sun, Stacey Alberts, Eiichi Egami, Ryan Hausen, George Rieke, Marcia Rieke, Irene Shivaei, Christopher N. A. Willmer, Andrew BunkerAlex J. Cameron, Stefano Carniani, Stephane Charlot, Mirko Curti, Emma Curtis-Lake, Tobias J. Looser, Roberto Maiolino, Michael V. Maseda, Tim Rawle, Hans-Walter Rix, Renske Smit, Hannah Übler, Chris Willott, Joris Witstok, Stefi Baum, Rachana Bhatawdekar, Kristan Boyett, A. Lola Danhaive, Anna de Graaff, Ryan Endsley, Zhiyuan Ji, Jianwei Lyu, Lester Sandles, Aayush Saxena, Jan Scholtz, Michael W. Topping, Lily Whitler

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We present JWST NIRCam nine-band near-infrared imaging of the luminous z = 10.6 galaxy GN-z11 from the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey of the GOODS-N field. We find a spectral energy distribution (SED) entirely consistent with the expected form of a high-redshift galaxy: a clear blue continuum from 1.5 to 4 μm with a complete dropout in F115W. The core of GN-z11 is extremely compact in JWST imaging. We analyze the image with a two-component model, using a point source and a Sérsic profile that fits to a half-light radius of 200 pc and an index n = 0.9. We find a low-surface-brightness haze about 04 to the northeast of the galaxy, which is most likely a foreground object but might be a more extended component of GN-z11. At a spectroscopic redshift of 10.60 (Bunker et al. 2023), the comparison of the NIRCam F410M and F444W images spans the Balmer jump. From population-synthesis modeling, here assuming no light from an active galactic nucleus, we reproduce the SED of GN-z11, finding a stellar mass of ∼109M⊙, a star formation rate of ∼20 M⊙ yr−1, and a young stellar age of ∼20 Myr. Since massive galaxies at high redshift are likely to be highly clustered, we search for faint neighbors of GN-z11, finding nine galaxies out to ∼5 comoving Mpc transverse with photometric redshifts consistent with z = 10.6, and a tenth more tentative dropout only 3'' away. This is consistent with GN-z11 being hosted by a massive dark-matter halo (≈8 × 1010M⊙), though lower halo masses cannot be ruled out.
Original languageEnglish
Article number74
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2023


  • Galaxy formation
  • Star formation
  • Galaxy evolution
  • High-redshift galaxies
  • Galaxy structure


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