Early Results from GLASS-JWST. XVIII. A First Morphological Atlas of the 1 < z < 5 Universe in the Rest-frame Optical

C. Jacobs, K. Glazebrook, A. Calabrò, T. Treu, T. Nannayakkara, T. Jones, E. Merlin, R. Abraham, A. R.H. Stevens, B. Vulcani, L. Yang, A. Bonchi, K. Boyett, M. Bradač, M. Castellano, A. Fontana, D. Marchesini, M. Malkan, C. Mason, T. MorishitaD. Paris, P. Santini, M. Trenti, X. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We present a rest-frame optical morphological analysis of galaxies observed with the NIRCam imager on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as part of the GLASS-JWST Early Release Science program. We select 388 sources at redshifts 0.8 < z < 5.4 and use the seven 0.9-5 μm NIRCam filters to generate rest-frame gri composite color images, and conduct visual morphological classification. Compared to Hubble Space Telescope (HST)-based work we find a higher incidence of disks and bulges than expected at z > 1.5, revealed by rest-frame optical imaging. We detect 123 clear disks (58 at z > 1.5) of which 76 have bulges. No evolution of bulge fraction with redshift is evident: 61% at z < 2 (N = 110) versus 60% at z ≥ 2 (N = 13). A stellar mass dependence is evident, with bulges visible in 80% of all disk galaxies with mass >109.5 M (N = 41) but only 52% at M < 109.5 M (N = 82). We supplement visual morphologies with nonparametric measurements of Gini and asymmetry coefficients in the rest-frame i band. Our sources are more asymmetric than local galaxies, with slightly higher Gini values. When compared to high-z rest-frame ultraviolet measurements with HST, JWST shows more regular morphological types such as disks, bulges, and spiral arms at z > 1.5, with smoother (i.e., lower Gini) and more symmetrical light distributions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL13
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


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