Normal, dust-obscured galaxies in the epoch of reionization

Y. Fudamoto, P. A. Oesch, S. Schouws, Mauro Stefanon, R. Smit, Rychard Bouwens, R. A. A. Bowler, R Endsley, Valentino Gonzalez, Hanae Inami, Ivo Labbé, D. Stark, M. Aravena, L Barrufet, Elisabete da Cunha, P Dayal, Andrea Ferrara, L Graziani, A Hutter, Y LiI. De Looze, Themiya Nanayakkara, A Pallottini, D. Riechers, R Schneider, G Ucci, P. Van Der Werf, C White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Web of Science)


Over the past decades, rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) observations have provided large samples of UV luminous galaxies at redshift (z) greater than 6 (refs. 1–3
), during the so-called epoch of reionization. While a few of these UV-identified galaxies revealed substantial dust reservoirs4–7 , very heavily dust-obscured sources at these early times have remained elusive. They are limited to a rare population of extreme starburst galaxies8–12 and companions of rare quasars13,14. These studies conclude that the contribution of dust-obscured galaxies to the cosmic star formation rate density at z > 6 is sub-dominant. Recent ALMA and Spitzer observations have identified a more abundant, less extreme population of obscured galaxies at z = 3−6 (refs. 15,16). However,
this population has not been confirmed in the reionization epoch so far. Here, we report the discovery of two dust-obscured star-forming galaxies at
z = 6.6813 ± 0.0005 and z = 7.3521 ± 0.0005. These objects are not detected in existing rest-frame UV data and were discovered only through their far-infrared [C ii] lines and dust continuum emission as companions to typical UV-luminous galaxies at the same redshift. The two galaxies exhibit lower infrared luminosities and star-formation rates than extreme starbursts, in line with typical star-forming galaxies at z ≈ 7. This population of heavily dust-obscured galaxies appears to contribute 10–25% to the z > 6 cosmic star formation rate density
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489–492
Number of pages4
Issue number7877
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sep 2021


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