We present deep WFC3 grism observations of the candidate z ~ 12 galaxy UDFj-39546284 in the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Ultra Deep Field (UDF), by combining spectroscopic data from the 3D-HST and CANDELS surveys. The total exposure time is 40.5 ks and the spectrum covers 1.10 < λ < 1.65 μm. We search for faint emission lines by cross-correlating the two-dimensional G141 spectrum with the observed H 160 morphology, a technique that is unique to slitless spectroscopy at HST resolution. We find a 2.7σ detection of an emission line at 1.599 μm—just redward of the JH 140 filter—with flux 3.5 ± 1.3 × 10-18 erg s-1 cm-2. Assuming that the line is real, it contributes 110% ± 40% of the observed H 160 flux and has an observed equivalent width >7300 Å. If the line is confirmed, it could be Lyα at z = 12.12. However, a more plausible interpretation, given current results, could be a lower redshift feature such as [O III]λ4959,5007 at z = 2.19. We find two other 3D-HST [O III] emitters within 1000 km s-1 of that redshift in the GOODS-South field. Additional support for this interpretation comes from the discovery of a bright "[O III] blob" with a secure G141 grism redshift of z = 1.605. This object has a strikingly large observed equivalent width of nearly 9000 Å that results in similar "dropout" colors as UDFj-39546284.Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, programs GO-12099, 12177, and 12547, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- March 2013
- galaxies: formation;
- galaxies: high-redshift;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
- Accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters