Early Results from GLASS-JWST. XIV. A Spectroscopically Confirmed Protocluster 650 Million Years after the Big Bang

Takahiro Morishita, Guido Roberts-Borsani, Tommaso Treu, Gabriel Brammer, Charlotte A. Mason, Michele Trenti, Benedetta Vulcani, Xin Wang, Ana Acebron, Yannick Bahé, Pietro Bergamini, Kristan Boyett, Marusa Bradac, Antonello Calabrò, Marco Castellano, Wenlei Chen, Gabriella De Lucia, Alexei V. Filippenko, Adriano Fontana, Karl GlazebrookClaudio Grillo, Alaina Henry, Tucker Jones, Patrick L. Kelly, Anton M. Koekemoer, Nicha Leethochawalit, Ting Yi Lu, Danilo Marchesini, Sara Mascia, Amata Mercurio, Emiliano Merlin, Benjamin Metha, Themiya Nanayakkara, Mario Nonino, Diego Paris, Laura Pentericci, Piero Rosati, Paola Santini, Victoria Strait, Eros Vanzella, Rogier A. Windhorst, Lizhi Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We present the spectroscopic confirmation of a protocluster at z = 7.88 behind the galaxy cluster Abell 2744 (hereafter A2744-z7p9OD). Using JWST NIRSpec, we find seven galaxies within a projected radius of 60 kpc. Although the galaxies reside in an overdensity around ≳20× greater than a random volume, they do not show strong Lyα emission. We place 2σ upper limits on the rest-frame equivalent width <16-28 Å. Based on the tight upper limits to the Lyα emission, we constrain the volume-averaged neutral fraction of hydrogen in the intergalactic medium to be x HI > 0.45 (68% C i). Using an empirical M UV-M halo relation for individual galaxies, we estimate that the total halo mass of the system is ≳4 × 1011 M . Likewise, the line-of-sight velocity dispersion is estimated to be 1100 ± 200 km s−1. Using an empirical relation, we estimate the present-day halo mass of A2744-z7p9OD to be ∼2 × 1015 M , comparable to the Coma cluster. A2744-z7p9OD is the highest redshift spectroscopically confirmed protocluster to date, demonstrating the power of JWST to investigate the connection between dark-matter halo assembly and galaxy formation at very early times with medium-deep observations at <20 hr total exposure time. Follow-up spectroscopy of the remaining photometric candidates of the overdensity will further refine the features of this system and help characterize the role of such overdensities in cosmic reionization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL24
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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