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Astron. Astrophys. 343, L19-L24 (1999)

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Letter to the Editor

The VLT observations of the HDF-S NICMOS field: photometric catalog and high redshift galaxy candidates

A. Fontana 1, S. D'Odorico 2, R. Fosbury 3, E. Giallongo 1, R. Hook 3, F. Poli 1, A. Renzini 2, P. Rosati 2 and R. Viezzer 2

1 Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via dell'Osservatorio, I-00040 Monteporzio, Italy
2 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, D-85748 Garching, Germany
3 Space Telescope - European Coordinating Facility, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, D-85748 Garching bei München, Germany

Received 1 December 1998 / Accepted 12 January 1999


We present the deep UBVRI observations of the HDF-S NICMOS field obtained as part of the Science Verification of the VLT Unit 1 telescope. The images have been used to construct object catalogs and to obtain photometric redshifts. The effective field of view is [FORMULA] arcsec2, and the formal [FORMULA] limiting magnitudes (in a 2 FWHM aperture) are 26.3, 27.8, 27.5, 26.9, 25.2 in the U, B, V, R and I bands, respectively. Thanks to the sub-arcsecond image quality, relatively long exposure time, and large collecting area of the VLT, this is the deepest set of multicolor images ever obtained from a ground-based telescope.

Galaxy counts have been derived independently in each band, and show no significant departures from previous data from wider areas. A multicolor photometric catalog of all the galaxies selected in the R band has also been obtained and used to derive photometric redshifts for all galaxies with [FORMULA], using also the J,H and K magnitudes from the NICMOS deep observations. A significant fraction ([FORMULA]28%)of the galaxies is placed at [FORMULA]. Among them, six robust candidates are found at [FORMULA].

Key words: galaxies: general – cosmology: observations

Send offprint requests to: A. Fontana (fontana@quasar.mporzio.astro.it)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: March 1, 1999