Expanded Search for z~10 Galaxies from HUDF09, ERS, and CANDELS Data: Evidence for Accelerated Evolution at z>8?

Oesch, P. A.; Bouwens, R. J.; Illingworth, G. D.; Labbe, I.; Trenti, M.; Gonzalez, V.; Carollo, C. M.; Franx, M.; van Dokkum, P. G.; Magee, D.


We search for z~10 galaxies over ~160 arcmin^2 of WFC3/IR data in the Chandra Deep Field South, using the public HUDF09, ERS, and CANDELS surveys, that reach to 5sigma depths ranging from 26.9 to 29.4 in H_160 AB mag. z>~9.5 galaxy candidates are identified via J_125-H_160>1.2 colors and non-detections in any band blueward of J_125. Spitzer IRAC photometry is key for separating the genuine high-z candidates from intermediate redshift (z~2-4) galaxies with evolved or heavily dust obscured stellar populations. After removing 16 sources of intermediate brightness (H_160~24-26 mag) with strong IRAC detections, we only find one plausible z~10 galaxy candidate in the whole data set, previously reported in Bouwens et al. (2011). The newer data cover a 3x larger area and provide much stronger constraints on the evolution of the UV luminosity function (LF). If the evolution of the z~4-8 LFs is extrapolated to z~10, six z~10 galaxies are expected in our data. The detection of only one source suggests that the UV LF evolves at an accelerated rate before z~8. The luminosity density is found to increase by more than an order of magnitude in only 170 Myr from z~10 to z~8. This increase is >=4x larger than expected from the lower redshift extrapolation of the UV LF. We are thus likely witnessing the first rapid build-up of galaxies in the heart of cosmic reionization. Future deep HST WFC3/IR data, reaching to well beyond 29 mag, can enable a more robust quantification of the accelerated evolution around z~10.

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