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The end of the reionization epoch probed by Lyα emitters at z = 6.5 in the subaru deep field

  • Author(s): Kashikawa, N
  • Shimasaku, K
  • Malkan, MA
  • Doi, M
  • Matsuda, Y
  • Ouchi, M
  • Taniguchi, Y
  • Ly, C
  • Nagao, T
  • Iye, M
  • Motohara, K
  • Murayama, T
  • Murozono, K
  • Nariai, K
  • Ohta, K
  • Okamura, S
  • Sasaki, T
  • Shioya, Y
  • Umemura, M
  • et al.

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We report an extensive search for Lyα emitters (LAEs) at z = 6.5 in the Subaru Deep Field. Subsequent spectroscopy with Subaru and Keck identified eight more LAEs, giving a total of 17 spectroscopically confirmed LAEs at z = 6.5. Based on this spectroscopic sample of 17, complemented by a photometric sample of 58 LAEs, we have derived a more accurate Lyα luminosity function of LAEs at z = 6.5, which reveals an apparent deficit at the bright end of ∼0.75 mag fainter L*, compared with that observed at z = 5.7. The difference in the LAE luminosity functions between z = 5.7 and 6.5 is significant at the 3 σ level, which is reduced to 2 σ when cosmic variance is taken into account. This result may imply that the reionization of the universe has not been completed at z = 6.5. We found that the spatial distribution of LAEs at z = 6.5 was homogeneous over the field. We discuss the implications of these results for the reionization of the universe. © 2006. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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