Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

The Astrophysical Journal


Observations of high-redshift galaxies provide a critical direct test to the theories of early galaxy formation, yet to date, only three have been spectroscopically confirmed at z > 12. Due to strong gravitational lensing over a wide area, the galaxy cluster field A2744 is ideal for searching for the earliest galaxies. Here we present JWST/NIRSpec observations of two galaxies: a robust detection at zspec 12.393 0.001 0.004 = - + , and a plausible candidate at zspec 13.079 0.001 0.013 = - + . The galaxies are discovered in JWST/NIRCam imaging and their distances are inferred with JWST/NIRSpec spectroscopy, all from the JWST Cycle 1 UNCOVER Treasury survey. Detailed stellar population modeling using JWST NIRCam and NIRSpec data corroborates the primeval characteristics of these galaxies: low mass (∼108 Me), young, rapidly assembling, metal-poor, and star-forming. Interestingly, both galaxies are spatially resolved, having lensing-corrected rest-UV effective radii on the order of 300–400 pc, which are notably larger than other spectroscopically confirmed systems at similar redshifts. The observed dynamic range of z  10 sizes spans over 1 order of magnitude, implying a significant scatter in the size–mass relation at early times. Deep into the epoch of reionization, these discoveries elucidate the emergence of the first galaxies.







UMass Amherst Open Access Policy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.