The Gas and Stellar Content of a Metal-poor Galaxy at z = 8.496 as Revealed by JWST and ALMA

K. E. Heintz, C. Giménez-Arteaga, S. Fujimoto, G. Brammer, D. Espada, S. Gillman, J. González-López, T. R. Greve, Y. Harikane, B. Hatsukade, K. K. Knudsen, A. M. Koekemoer, K. Kohno, V. Kokorev, M. M. Lee, G. E. Magdis, E. J. Nelson, F. Rizzo, R. L. Sanders, D. SchaererA. E. Shapley, V. B. Strait, S. Toft, F. Valentino, A. van der Wel, A. P. Vijayan, D. Watson, F. E. Bauer, C. R. Christiansen, S. N. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We present a joint analysis of the galaxy S04590 at z = 8.496 based on NIRSpec, NIRCam, and NIRISS observations obtained as part of the Early Release Observations program of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the far-infrared [C ii] 158 μm emission line detected by dedicated Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observations. We determine the physical properties of S04590 from modeling of the spectral energy distribution (SED) and through the redshifted optical nebular emission lines detected with JWST/NIRSpec. The best-fit SED model reveals a low-mass (M = 107.2-108 M ) galaxy with a low oxygen abundance of 12 + log ( O / H ) = 7.16 − 0.12 + 0.10 derived from the strong nebular and auroral emission lines. Assuming that [C ii] effectively traces the interstellar medium, we estimate the total gas mass of the galaxy to be M gas = (8.0 ± 4.0) × 108 M based on the luminosity and spatial extent of [C ii]. This yields an exceptionally high gas fraction, f gas = M gas/(M gas + M ) ≳ 90%, though one still consistent with the range expected for low metallicity. We further derive the metal mass of the galaxy based on the gas mass and gas-phase metallicity, which we find to be consistent with the expected metal production from Type II supernovae. Finally, we make the first constraints on the dust-to-gas (DTG) and dust-to-metal (DTM) ratios of galaxies in the epoch of reionization at z ≳ 6, showing overall low mass ratios of logDTG < −3.8 and logDTM < −0.5, though they are consistent with established scaling relations and in particular with those of the local metal-poor galaxy I Zwicky 18. Our analysis highlights the synergy between ALMA and JWST in characterizing the gas, metal, and stellar content of the first generation of galaxies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL30
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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