A Galaxy at z=5.34

Research paper by Arjun Dey, Hyron Spinrad, Daniel Stern, James R. Graham, Frederic H. Chaffee

Indexed on: 11 Mar '98Published on: 11 Mar '98Published in: Astrophysics


We report the discovery of Lyman alpha emission from a galaxy at z=5.34, the first object at z>5 with a spectroscopically confirmed redshift. The faint continuum emission (m(8000A)=27 AB mag), relatively small rest-frame equivalent width of the emission line (rest equivalent width of 95A), and limits on the NV/Lya ratio suggest that this is a star-forming galaxy and not an AGN. The star-formation rates implied by the UV continuum emission and the Lyman alpha emission are (in the absence of dust extinction) fairly modest (about 6 Msun/yr for q0=0.5, H0=50). The continuum luminosity is similar to that of sub-L*(1500) star-forming galaxies at z~3, and the width of the Lyman alpha line yields an upper limit to the mass of < 2.6 x 10^{10} Msun. The strong emission line detected in this low-luminosity galaxy provides hope for the discovery of higher luminosity primeval galaxies at redshifts z>5.