We report the discovery of a large-scale structure containing multiple protoclusters at z = 3.78 in the Boötes field. The spectroscopic discovery of five galaxies at z = 3.783 ± 0.002 lying within 1 Mpc of one another led us to undertake a deep narrow- and broadband imaging survey of the surrounding field. Within a comoving volume of 72 × 72 × 25 Mpc3, we have identified 65 Lyα emitter (LAE) candidates at z = 3.795 ± 0.015, and four additional galaxies at zspec = 3.730, 3.753, 3.780, 3.835. The galaxy distribution within the field is highly non-uniform, exhibiting three large (3-5 ×) overdensities separated by 8-14 Mpc (physical) and possibly connected by filamentary structures traced by LAEs. The observed number of LAEs in the entire field is nearly twice the average expected in field environments based on estimates of the Lyα luminosity function at these redshifts. We estimate that by z = 0 the largest overdensity will grow into a cluster of mass 1015 M the two smaller overdensities will grow into clusters of mass (2-6) × 1014 M .The highest concentration of galaxies is located at the southern end of the image, suggesting that the current imaging may not map the true extent of the large-scale structure. Finding three large protocluster candidates within a single 0.3 deg2 field is highly unusual; expectations from theory suggest that such alignments should occur less than 2% of the time. Searching for and characterizing such structures and accurately measuring their volume space density can therefore place constraints on the theory of structure formation. Such regions can also serve as laboratories for the study of galaxy formation in dense environments.
- distances and redshifts - galaxies
- evolution -galaxies
- formation - large-scale structure of universe
- observations - galaxies
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science