AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 65 Galaxy Structure and its Evolution
Topical Session, Wednesday, June 2, 2004, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, 603/605/607

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[65.01] Exploring the Universe Prior to Redshift Five

R. S. Ellis (Caltech)

New techniques are being brought to the fore to address the important question of the star formation history of the Universe prior to redshift 5. I will discuss results based on the counts and Keck spectroscopic follow-up of Lyman dropouts in the GOODS and UDF HST images which, taken together, suggest a marked decline in the comoving density of star formation over the redshift range 3 to 6. Extending these studies to both intrinsically fainter and more distant sources has required the additional magnification offered by well-constrained cluster gravitational lenses. Both blind Lyman alpha emission and continuum searches along the "critical lines" of such lenses have demonstrated the capability of locating distant sources bright enough for detailed study. Together with further exploitation of the UDF, an early glimpse will be provided of the abundance and characteristics of the sources responsible for ending the Dark Ages.

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