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Astron. Astrophys. 359, 489-492 (2000)

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The first VLT FORS1 spectra of Lyman-break candidates in the HDF-S and AXAF Deep Field *

S. Cristiani 1,2, I. Appenzeller 3, S. Arnouts 2,4, M. Nonino 4,5, A. Aragón-Salamanca 7, C. Benoist 4, L. da Costa 4, M. Dennefeld 6, R. Rengelink 4, A. Renzini 4, T. Szeifert 3 and S. White 8

1 Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
2 Dipartimento di Astronomia dell'Università di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
3 Landessternwarte Königstuhl, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
4 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85740 Garching, Germany
5 Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 40131 Trieste, Italy
6 Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris - CNRS, 98bis Boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
7 School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
8 Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, 85740 Garching, Germany

Received 28 February 2000 / Accepted 26 April 2000


We report on low-resolution multi-object spectroscopy of 30 faint targets ([FORMULA]) in the HDF-S and AXAF deep field obtained with the VLT Focal Reducer/low dispersion Spectrograph (FORS1). Eight high-redshift galaxies with [FORMULA] have been identified. The spectroscopic redshifts are in good agreement with the photometric ones with a dispersion [FORMULA] at [FORMULA] and [FORMULA] at [FORMULA]. The inferred star formation rates of the individual objects are moderate, ranging from a few to a few tens [FORMULA]. Five out of the eight high-z objects do not show prominent emission lines. One object has a spectrum typical of an AGN. In the AXAF field two relatively close pairs of galaxies have been identified, with separations of 8.7 and 3.1 proper Mpc and mean redshifts of 3.11 and 3.93, respectively.

Key words: techniques: spectroscopic – galaxies: distances and redshifts – galaxies: evolution – galaxies: formation

* Based on observations collected at the European Southern Observatory, Paranal, Chile

Send offprint requests to: S. Cristiani (Stefano.Cristiani@eso.org)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: July 7, 2000