The JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey: Discovery of an Extreme Galaxy Overdensity at z = 5.4 with JWST/NIRCam in GOODS-S

Jakob M. Helton, Fengwu Sun, Charity Woodrum, Kevin N. Hainline, Christopher N. A. Willmer, George H. Rieke, Marcia J. Rieke, Sandro Tacchella, Brant Robertson, Benjamin D. Johnson, Stacey Alberts, Daniel J. Eisenstein, Ryan Hausen, Nina R. Bonaventura, Andrew Bunker, Stephane Charlot, Mirko Curti, Emma Curtis-Lake, Tobias J. Looser, Roberto MaiolinoChris Willott, Joris Witstok, Kristan Boyett, Zuyi Chen, Eiichi Egami, Ryan Endsley, Raphael E. Hviding, Daniel T. Jaffe, Zhiyuan Ji, Jianwei Lyu, Lester Sandles

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We report the discovery of an extreme galaxy overdensity at $z = 5.4$ in the GOODS-S field using JWST/NIRCam imaging from JADES and JEMS alongside JWST/NIRCam wide field slitless spectroscopy from FRESCO. We identified potential members of the overdensity using HST+JWST photometry spanning $\lambda = 0.4-5.0\ \mu\mathrm{m}$. These data provide accurate and well-constrained photometric redshifts down to $m \approx 29-30\,\mathrm{mag}$. We subsequently confirmed $N = 81$ galaxies at $5.2 < z < 5.5$ using JWST slitless spectroscopy over $\lambda = 3.9-5.0\ \mu\mathrm{m}$ through a targeted line search for $\mathrm{H} \alpha$ around the best-fit photometric redshift. We verified that $N = 42$ of these galaxies reside in the field while $N = 39$ galaxies reside in a density around $\sim 10$ times that of a random volume. Stellar populations for these galaxies were inferred from the photometry and used to construct the star-forming main sequence, where protocluster members appeared more massive and exhibited earlier star formation (and thus older stellar populations) when compared to their field galaxy counterparts. We estimate the total halo mass of this large-scale structure to be $12.6 \lesssim \mathrm{log}_{10} \left( M_{\mathrm{halo}}/M_{\odot} \right) \lesssim 12.8$ using an empirical stellar mass to halo mass relation, which is likely an underestimate as a result of incompleteness. Our discovery demonstrates the power of JWST at constraining dark matter halo assembly and galaxy formation at very early cosmic times.
Original languageEnglish
Article number124
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date13 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2024


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