James Webb Space Telescope Feed Post

Date: 11/21/2023

IOP Science: Spectral Templates Optimal for Selecting Galaxies at z > 8 with the JWST

Paper abstract: The selection of high-redshift galaxies often involves spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting to photometric data, an expectation for contamination levels, and measurement of sample completeness—all vetted through comparison to spectroscopic redshift measurements of a sub-sample. The first JWST data are now being taken over several extragalactic fields to different depths and across various areas, which will be ideal for the discovery and classification of galaxies out to distances previously uncharted. As spectroscopic redshift measurements for sources in this epoch will not be initially available to compare with the first photometric measurements of z > 8 galaxies, robust photometric redshifts are of the utmost importance. Galaxies at z > 8 are expected to have bluer rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) colors than typically used model SED templates, which could lead to catastrophic photometric redshift failures. We use a combination of BPASS and Cloudy models to create a supporting set of templates that match the predicted rest-UV colors of z > 8 simulated galaxies. We test these new templates by fitting simulated galaxies in a mock catalog, Yung et al., which mimic expected field depths and areas of the JWST Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (m5s ~ 28.6 over ~100 arcmin2). We use EAZY to highlight the improvements in redshift recovery with the inclusion of our new template set and suggest criteria for selecting galaxies at 8 < z < 10 with the JWST, providing an important test case for observers venturing into this new era of astronomy.