UV luminosity functions at redshifts z ∼ 4 to z ∼ 10: 10,000 galaxies from HST legacy fields

R. J. Bouwens, G. D. Illingworth, P. A. Oesch, M. Trenti, I. Labbé, L. Bradley, M. Carollo, P. G. Van Dokkum, V. Gonzalez, B. Holwerda, M. Franx, L. Spitler, R. Smit, D. Magee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    991 Citations (Scopus)
    448 Downloads (Pure)


    The remarkable Hubble Space Telescope (HST) data sets from the CANDELS, HUDF09, HUDF12, ERS, and BoRG/HIPPIES programs have allowed us to map the evolution of the rest-frame UV luminosity function (LF) from z ∼ 10 to z ∼ 4. We develop new color criteria that more optimally utilize the full wavelength coverage from the optical, near-IR, and mid-IR observations over our search fields, while simultaneously minimizing the incompleteness and eliminating redshift gaps. We have identified 5859, 3001, 857, 481, 217, and 6 galaxy candidates at z ∼ 4, z ∼ 5, z ∼ 6, z ∼ 7, z ∼ 8, and z ∼ 10, respectively, from the ∼1000 arcmin2 area covered by these data sets. This sample of >10,000 galaxy candidates at z ≥ 4 is by far the largest assembled to date with HST. The selection of z ∼ 4-8 candidates over the five CANDELS fields allows us to assess the cosmic variance; the largest variations are at z ≥ 7. Our new LF determinations at z ∼ 4 and z ∼ 5 span a 6 mag baseline and reach to -16 AB mag. These determinations agree well with previous estimates, but the larger samples and volumes probed here result in a more reliable sampling of >L∗ galaxies and allow us to reassess the form of the UV LFs. Our new LF results strengthen our earlier findings to 3.4σ significance for a steeper faint-end slope of the UV LF at z ∼ 4, with α evolving from α = -2.06 ∓ 0.13 at to z ∼ 7 (and α = -2.02 ∓ 0.23 at z ∼ 8), consistent with that expected from the evolution of the halo mass function. We find less evolution in the characteristic magnitude M∗ from z ∼ 7 to z ∼ 4; the observed evolution in the LF is now largely represented by changes ∅∗ in . No evidence for a non-Schechter-like form to the z ∼ 4-8 LFs is found. A simple conditional LF model based on halo growth and evolution in the M/L ratio(∝(1+ ∼)-1.5 of halos provides a good representation of the observed evolution.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number34
    Pages (from-to)1-49
    Number of pages49
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2015

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright 2015 The American Astronomical Society. First published in the Astrophysical journal, 803(1), 34, 2015, published by IOP Publishing. The original publication is available at http://www.doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/803/1/34. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    Dive into the research topics of 'UV luminosity functions at redshifts z ∼ 4 to z ∼ 10: 10,000 galaxies from HST legacy fields'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this