NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2006A-0438

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Proposal Information for 2006A-0438


PI: Elizabeth J. Barton, University of California, Irvine, ebarton@uci.edu
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, 4154 Frederick Reines Hall, Irvine, CA 92697-4575, USA

CoI: John-David T. Smith, University of Arizona
CoI: Joseph B. Jensen, Gemini Observatory
CoI: Casey Papovich, University of Arizona
CoI: Romeel Dave, University of Arizona

Title: Searching for Star Formation at z=7.7 and z=8.2

Abstract: Recent discoveries from the spectra of high-redshift quasars indicate that the reionization of the universe ended at z ~ 6. The next great frontier is the detection of the objects responsible for this reionization. \bf We propose a search for Ly(alpha) emission from what would be the youngest-known \it confirmed astronomical objects, star-forming galaxies at z=7.7 and z=8.2, in the Northern Hubble deep field. We argue that they may be detectable via narrow-band imaging in the near-infrared. Combining cosmological hydrodynamic simulations and assumptions about the characteristics of the high- redshift universe, we estimate that up to a few tens of sources in a single NIRI field are observable with 40 hours of on-source exposure time. Successful discovery of these objects would open a new field of study at early epochs, ultimately paving the way for an understanding of the star formation history of the early universe and the physics of reionization. The observations would be among the deepest narrow-band near-infrared images yet taken, producing substantial ancillary science from the measurement of [OII] (z ~ 2) and H(alpha) (z ~ 0.7) emission-line flux. The current proposal is a re-submission of highly- ranked 2004A and 2005A proposals. Because of poor weather on Mauna Kea, we have only 23 hours of exposure time, some of which does not meet our requirements. Here, we propose for an additional on-source time of 17 hours in the 1.122 (micron) filter and a comparable 30 hours of high- quality data in the newer 1.065 (micron) filter.


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