We report on five compact, extremely young (<10 Myr) and blue (βUV < -2.5, Fλ = λβ) objects observed with VLT/Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer at redshifts 3.1169 and 3.235, in addition to three objects at z = 6.145. These sources are strongly magnified (3-40 times) by the Hubble Frontier Field galaxy clusters MACS J0416 and AS1063. Their delensed half-light radii (Re) are between 16 and 140 pc, the stellar masses are ≃1-20 × 106 M⊙, the magnitudes are mUV = 28.8-31.4 (-17 < MUV < -15) and specific star formation rates can be as large as ∼800 Gyr-1. Remarkably, the inferred physical properties of two objects are similar to those expected in some globular cluster formation scenarios, representing the best candidate proto-GCs discovered so far. Rest-frame optical high-dispersion spectroscopy of one of them at z = 3.1169 yields a velocity dispersion σv ≃ 20 km s-1, implying a dynamical mass dominated by the stellar mass. Another object at z = 6.145, with delensed MUV ≃ -15.3 (mUV ≃ 31.4), shows a stellar mass and a star formation rate surface density consistent with the values expected from popular GC formation scenarios. An additional star-forming region at z = 6.145, with delensed mUV ≃ 32, a stellar mass of 0.5 × 106 M⊙ and a star formation rate of 0.06 M⊙ yr-1 is also identified. These objects currently represent the faintest spectroscopically confirmed star-forming systems at z > 3, elusive even in the deepest blank fields. We discuss how proto-GCs might contribute to the ionization budget of the Universe and augment Lyα visibility during reionization. This work underlines the crucial role of JWST in characterizing the rest-frame optical and near-infrared properties of such low-luminosity high-z objects.
|Titolo:||Paving the way for the JWST: witnessing globular cluster formation at z > 3|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.1 Articolo su rivista|