HST Grism Confirmation of 16 Structures at 1.4 < z < 2.8 from the Clusters Around Radio-Loud AGN (CARLA) Survey
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We report spectroscopic results from our 40-orbit Hubble Space Telescope slitless grism spectroscopy program observing the 20 densest Clusters Around Radio-Loud AGN (CARLA) candidate galaxy clusters at 1.4 < z < 2.8. These candidate rich structures, among the richest and most distant known, were identified on the basis of [3.6]–[4.5] color from a 408 hr multi-cycle Spitzer program targeting 420 distant radio-loud AGN. We report the spectroscopic confirmation of 16 distant structures at 1.4 < z < 2.8 associated with the targeted powerful high-redshift radio-loud AGN. We also report the serendipitous discovery and spectroscopic confirmation of seven additional structures at 0.87 < z < 2.12 not associated with the targeted radio-loud AGN. We find that 10 10–10 11 M☉ member galaxies of our confirmed CARLA structures form significantly fewer stars than their field counterparts at all redshifts within 1.4 < z < 2. We also observe higher star-forming activity in the structure cores up to z = 2, finding similar trends as cluster surveys at slightly lower redshifts (1.0 < z < 1.5). By design, our efficient strategy of obtaining just two grism orbits per field only obtains spectroscopic confirmation of emission line galaxies. Deeper spectroscopy will be required to study the population of evolved, massive galaxies in these (forming) clusters. Lacking multi-band coverage of the fields, we adopt a very conservative approach of calling all confirmations “structures,” although we note that a number of features are consistent with some of them being bona fide galaxy clusters. Together this survey represents a unique and large homogenous sample of spectroscopically confirmed structures at high redshifts, potentially more than doubling the census of confirmed, massive clusters at z > 1.4.
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