NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0015

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Proposal Information for 2010A-0015


PI: Pieter van Dokkum, Yale University, pieter.vandokkum@yale.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 260 Whitney Ave, New Haven, CT 06511, USA

CoI: Rachel Bezanson, Yale
CoI: Gabriel Brammer, Yale
CoI: Marijn Franx, Leiden
CoI: Garth Illingworth, Santa Cruz
CoI: Mariska Kriek, Princeton
CoI: Ivo Labbe, Carnegie
CoI: Britt Lundgren, Yale
CoI: Danilo Marchesini, Tufts
CoI: Adam Muzzin, Yale
CoI: Ryan Quadri, Leiden
CoI: Gregory Rudnick, Kansas
CoI: Tomer Tal, Yale
CoI: David Wake, Yale
CoI: Katherine Whitaker, Yale

Title: The NEWFIRM Medium Band Survey II: Hunting Monster Galaxies

Abstract: Current observations of the most massive galaxies at 0<z<1 suggest that they evolve very slowly, contrary to expectations from galaxy formation models. Unfortunately it has proven difficult to push these studies to higher redshifts, because broad-band near-infrared surveys do not have the required redshift accuracy. We have recently developed and implemented an extremely efficient technique to measure accurate redshifts of large samples of K-selected galaxies. In the NOAO NEWFIRM Medium Band Survey (NMBS) we used five custom medium-bandwidth filters from 1-1.8 (micron) to measure redshifts for ~ 18,000 galaxies down to K_\rm AB=22.5 in two 0.22 deg^2 fields. We securely identified 8 galaxies with K_\rm AB<20.5 at 2<z<3 and 1 spectacular galaxy with K_\rm AB=20.3 at z=3.24. These are the most luminous and massive galaxies yet known at z>2. Here we propose a wide area extension to the NMBS for a ten-fold increase in the known number of very massive galaxies at z>2. In addition, the resulting database of high-quality SEDs and redshifts of ~ 50,000 galaxies down to K_\rm AB=20.5 (of which ~ 7500 will be at z>1) will form a lasting legacy of NEWFIRM, enabling the most accurate studies of the clustering of K-selected galaxies at 1<z<2, studies of rare objects such as AGN, and the identification of several dozen (proto- )clusters.


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