ZEN2: A narrow J-band search for z ∼ 9 Lyα emitting galaxies directed towards three lensing clusters

J. P. Willis, F. Courbin, J. P. Kneib, D. Minniti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


We present the results of a continuing survey to detect Lyα emitting galaxies at redshifts z ∼ 9: the 'z equals nine' (ZEN) survey. We have obtained deep VLT Infrared Spectrometer and Array Camera observations in the narrow J-band filter NB119 directed towards three massive lensing clusters: Abell clusters 1689, 1835 and 114. The foreground clusters provide a magnified view of the distant Universe and permit a sensitive test for the presence of very high redshift galaxies. We search for z ∼ 9 Lyα emitting galaxies displaying a significant narrow-band excess relative to accompanying J-band observations that remain undetected in Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) optical images of each field. No sources consistent with this criterion are detected above the unlensed 90 per cent point-source flux limit of the narrow-band image, FNB = 3.7 × 10 -18 erg s-1 cm-2. To date, the total coverage of the ZEN survey has sampled a volume at z ∼ 9 of approximately 1700 comoving Mpc3 to a Lyα emission luminosity of 1043 erg s-1. We conclude by considering the prospects for detecting z ∼ 9 Lyα emitting galaxies in light of both observed galaxy properties at z < 7 and simulated populations at z > 7.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1044
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Gravitational lensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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