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Galaxy formation at high redshifts

Nature volume 383, pages 236239 (19 September 1996) | Download Citation

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Abstract

SENSITIVE optical surveys have revealed1 a large population of 'faint blue galaxies', which are believed to be young galaxies observed close to their time of formation2. But there has been considerable uncertainty regarding the epochs at which these galaxies are observed, owing to the difficulties inherent in determining spectroscopic redshifts for very faint objects. Here, by modelling the numbers and colours of galaxies at the faintest detection limits, we show that the faint blue galaxies are likely to lie at high redshift (z ≈ 2). This conclusion holds regardless of whether the Universe is assumed to be open or at the critical density (flat). In an open universe, the data are consistent with galaxy models in which star formation rates decay exponentially with decreasing redshift, whereas the assumption of a flat universe requires the addition of a population of galaxies which are seen only at high redshift.

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Author information

Author notes

    • A. Campos

    Present address: Institute de Astrofisica de Andalucia, CSIC, Spain.

Affiliations

  1. Physics Department, University of Durham, South Road, Durham DH13LE,UK

    • N. Metcalfe
    • , T. Shanks
    • , A. Campos
    • , R. Fong
    •  & J. P. Gardner

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https://doi.org/10.1038/383236a0

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