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CLASH: Three Strongly Lensed Images of a Candidate z ~ 11 Galaxy

Dan Coe, Adi Zitrin, Mauricio Carrasco, Xinwen Shu, Wei Zheng, Marc Postman, Larry Bradley, Anton Koekemoer, Rychard Bouwens, Tom Broadhurst, Anna Monna, Ole Host, Leonidas A. Moustakas, Holland Ford, John Moustakas, Arjen van der Wel, Megan Donahue, Steven A. Rodney, Narciso Benitez, Stephanie Jouvel, Stella Seitz, Daniel D. Kelson, and Piero Rosati. (2012)cite arxiv:1211.3663Comment: Accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. 23 pages, 18 figures.

Abstract

We present a candidate for the most distant galaxy known to date with a photometric redshift z = 10.7 +0.6 / -0.4 95% confidence limits; with z < 9.5 galaxies of known types ruled out at 7.2-sigma. This J-dropout Lyman Break Galaxy, named MACS0647-JD, was discovered as part of the Cluster Lensing and Supernova survey with Hubble CLASH. We observe three magnified images of this galaxy due to strong gravitational lensing by the galaxy cluster MACSJ0647.7+7015 at z = 0.591. The images are magnified by factors of ~8, 7, and 2, with the brighter two observed at ~26th magnitude AB ~0.15 uJy in the WFC3/IR F160W filter ~1.4 - 1.7 um where they are detected at >~ 12-sigma. All three images are also confidently detected at >~ 6-sigma in F140W ~1.2 - 1.6 um, dropping out of detection from 15 lower wavelength HST filters ~0.2 - 1.4 um, and lacking bright detections in Spitzer/IRAC 3.6um and 4.5um imaging ~3.2 - 5.0 um. We rule out a broad range of possible lower redshift interlopers, including some previously published as high redshift candidates. Our high redshift conclusion is more conservative than if we had neglected a Bayesian photometric redshift prior. Given CLASH observations of 17 high mass clusters to date, our discoveries of MACS0647-JD at z ~ 10.8 and MACS1149-JD1 at z ~ 9.6 are consistent with a lensed luminosity function extrapolated from lower redshifts. This would suggest that low luminosity galaxies could have reionized the universe. However given the significant uncertainties based on only two galaxies, we cannot yet rule out the sharp drop off in number counts at z >~ 10 suggested by field searches.

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[1211.3663] CLASH: Three Strongly Lensed Images of a Candidate z ~ 11 Galaxy

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