The onset of star formation 250 million years after the Big Bang

Takuya Hashimoto, Nicolas Laporte, Ken Mawatari, Richard S. Ellis, Akio K. Inoue, Erik Zackrisson, Guido Roberts-Borsani, Wei Zheng, Yoichi Tamura, Franz E. Bauer, Thomas Fletcher, Yuichi Harikane, Bunyo Hatsukade, Natsuki H. Hayatsu, Yuichi Matsuda, Hiroshi Matsuo, Takashi Okamoto, Masami Ouchi, Roser Pelló, Claes Erik RydbergIkkoh Shimizu, Yoshiaki Taniguchi, Hideki Umehata, Naoki Yoshida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A fundamental quest of modern astronomy is to locate the earliest galaxies and study how they influenced the intergalactic medium a few hundred million years after the Big Bang 1-3 . The abundance of star-forming galaxies is known to decline 4,5 from redshifts of about 6 to 10, but a key question is the extent of star formation at even earlier times, corresponding to the period when the first galaxies might have emerged. Here we report spectroscopic observations of MACS1149-JD1 6, a gravitationally lensed galaxy observed when the Universe was less than four per cent of its present age. We detect an emission line of doubly ionized oxygen at a redshift of 9.1096 ± 0.0006, with an uncertainty of one standard deviation. This precisely determined redshift indicates that the red rest-frame optical colour arises from a dominant stellar component that formed about 250 million years after the Big Bang, corresponding to a redshift of about 15. Our results indicate that it may be possible to detect such early episodes of star formation in similar galaxies with future telescopes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-395
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume557
Issue number7705
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 17
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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