Deep field around 53W002

This color-composite images is from stacks of exposures with the Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 on HST, with a total of nearly 6 hours' exposure in each of the V (F606W) and I (F814W) filters. The primary target was the high-redshift radio galaxy 53W002 at z=2.40. As one of the deepest images yet obtained not targeted to a rich cluster of galaxies, the image has proven useful in probing the representative galaxy content of the distant (early) Universe, with many irregular and possible interacting galaxies present. The limiting magnitude for stellar images is V=28.9, while for galaxies of typical size it is closer to 26. The blue and red borders arise from the fact that the two sets of images were taken at somewhat different spacecraft roll angles and thus do not quite overlap.

A feature of particular interest is that this field was later found to contain a cluster associated with the radio galaxy. From the ground, three additional objects with closely matching redshifts z=2.39 were identified from Lyman-alpha emission redshifted into the optical range. Further HST observations identified 15 further members of this very distant cluster and and showed them to be remarkably compact. Feel free to read our HST press release and more recent research summary. On top of this, narrow-band images from the Kitt Peak 4-meter telescope taken in July 1997 show that there are additional objects at the same redshift outside the HST field of view, including two quasars also at z=2.39, making this an even larger and richer aggregate of young objects thanm we thought.

UA Astronomy Home Page (Bill Keel)
Last updated: November 1997