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The onset of star formation 250 million years after the Big Bang

Hashimoto, T; Laporte, N; Mawatari, K; Ellis, R; Inoue, AK; Zackrisson, E; Roberts-Borsani, G; ... Yoshida, N; + view all (2018) The onset of star formation 250 million years after the Big Bang. Nature , 557 pp. 392-395. 10.1038/s41586-018-0117-z. Green open access

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Abstract

A fundamental quest of modern astronomy is to locate the earliest galaxies and study how they influenced the intergalactic medium a few hundred million years after the Big Bang1,2,3. The abundance of star-forming galaxies is known to decline4,5 from redshifts of about 6 to 10, but a key question is the extent of star formation at even earlier times, corresponding to the period when the first galaxies might have emerged. Here we report spectroscopic observations of MACS1149-JD16, a gravitationally lensed galaxy observed when the Universe was less than four per cent of its present age. We detect an emission line of doubly ionized oxygen at a redshift of 9.1096 ± 0.0006, with an uncertainty of one standard deviation. This precisely determined redshift indicates that the red rest-frame optical colour arises from a dominant stellar component that formed about 250 million years after the Big Bang, corresponding to a redshift of about 15. Our results indicate that it may be possible to detect such early episodes of star formation in similar galaxies with future telescopes.

Type: Article
Title: The onset of star formation 250 million years after the Big Bang
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0117-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0117-z
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Cosmology, Galaxies and clusters
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Physics and Astronomy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10048931
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