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Strong damped Lyman-α absorption in young star-forming galaxies at redshifts 9 to 11

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posted on 2024-06-21, 13:23 authored by Kasper E Heintz, Darach Watson, Gabriel Brammer, Simone Vejlgaard, Anne Hutter, Victoria B Strait, Jorryt Matthee, Pascal A Oesch, Páll Jakobsson, Nial R Tanvir, Peter Laursen, Rohan P Naidu, Charlotte A Mason, Meghana Killi, Intae Jung, Tiger Yu-Yang Hsiao, Abdurro’uf, Dan Coe, Pablo Arrabal Haro, Steven L Finkelstein, Sune Toft
Primordial neutral atomic gas, mostly composed of hydrogen, is the raw material for star formation in galaxies. However, there are few direct constraints on the amount of neutral atomic hydrogen (H  i ) in galaxies at early cosmic times. We analyzed James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) near-infrared spectroscopy of distant galaxies, at redshifts ≳8. From a sample of 12 galaxies, we identified three that show strong damped Lyman-α absorption due to H  i in their local surroundings. The galaxies are located at spectroscopic redshifts of 8.8, 10.2, and 11.4, corresponding to 400 to 600 million years after the Big Bang. They have H  i column densities ≳10 22 cm −2 , which is an order of magnitude higher than expected for a fully neutral intergalactic medium, and constitute a gas-rich population of young star-forming galaxies.

History

Author affiliation

College of Science & Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Science

Volume

384

Issue

6698

Pagination

890 - 894

Publisher

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

issn

0036-8075

eissn

1095-9203

Copyright date

2024

Available date

2024-06-21

Notes

K.E.H. acknowledges support from Carlsberg Foundation Reintegration Fellowship grant CF21-0103. A.H. acknowledges support from the VILLUM FONDEN under grant 37459. C.A.M. acknowledges support from the VILLUM FONDEN under grant 37459 and the Carlsberg Foundation under grant CF22-1322. N.R.T. was funded through Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) consolidated grant ST/W000857/1. R.P.N. acknowledges funding from JWST programs GO-1933 and GO-2279. R.P.N. was supported by the NASA Hubble Fellowship grant HST-HF2-51515.001-A awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under NASA contract NAS5-26555. P.A.O. received funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research, and Innovation (SERI) under contract number MB22.00072 and from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) through project grant 200020_207349.

Spatial coverage

United States

Language

en

Deposited by

Professor Nial Tanvir

Deposit date

2024-06-20

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