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Estimating Luminosity Function Constraints from High-Redshift Galaxy Surveys

Robertson, Brant E. (2010) Estimating Luminosity Function Constraints from High-Redshift Galaxy Surveys. Astrophysical Journal, 713 (2). pp. 1266-1281. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/713/2/1266.

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The installation of the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) will revolutionize the study of high-redshift galaxy populations. Initial observations of the HST Ultra Deep Field (UDF) have yielded multiple z ≳ 7 dropout candidates. Supplemented by the GOODS Early Release Science (ERS) and further UDF pointings, these data will provide crucial information about the most distant known galaxies. However, achieving tight constraints on the z ~ 7 galaxy luminosity function (LF) will require even more ambitious photometric surveys. Using a Fisher matrix approach to fully account for Poisson and cosmic sample variance, as well as covariances in the data, we estimate the uncertainties on LF parameters achieved by surveys of a given area and depth. Applying this method to WFC3 z ~ 7 dropout galaxy samples, we forecast the LF parameter uncertainties for a variety of model surveys. We demonstrate that performing a wide area (~1 deg^2) survey to H_(AB) ~ 27 depth or increasing the UDF depth to H_(AB) ~ 30 provides excellent constraints on the high-z LF when combined with the existing Ultradeep Field Guest Observation and GOODS ERS data. We also show that the shape of the matter power spectrum may limit the possible gain of splitting wide area (≳0.5 deg^2) high-redshift surveys into multiple fields to probe statistically independent regions; the increased rms density fluctuations in smaller volumes mostly offset the improved variance gained from independent samples.

Item Type:Article
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Robertson, Brant E.0000-0002-4271-0364
Additional Information:© 2010 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 January 7; accepted 2010 March 9; published 2010 April 1. I thank Peter Capak and Nick Scoville for useful advice on modeling the survey data and WFC3 observations, Richard Ellis for helpful discussions, and Anatoly Klypin for permission to use his cosmological simulation. I am supported by a Hubble Fellowship grant, program number HST-HF-51262.01-A provided by NASA from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Incorporated, under NASA contract NAS5-26555. I also thank the Caltech Astronomy Department for hosting me during my Hubble Fellowship.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Hubble Fellowship/NASAHST-HF-51262.01-A
Subject Keywords:galaxies: abundances; methods: statistical; surveys
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:PACS: 95.80.+p; 98.62.Qz; 98.62.Lv; 98.62.Ai; 98.62.Py
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100614-075754596
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Official Citation:Brant E. Robertson 2010 ApJ 713 1266 doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/713/2/1266
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:18663
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:14 Jun 2010 21:16
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:45

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