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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


We present the initial imaging and spectroscopic data acquired as part of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) VIMOS Lyman-break galaxy Survey. UBR (or UBVI) imaging covers five ≈36 × 36 arcmin fields centred on bright z > 3 quasi-stellar objects (QSOs), allowing ≈210002 < z < 3.5 galaxy candidates to be selected using the Lyman-break technique. We performed spectroscopic follow-up using VLT VIMOS, measuring redshifts for 1020 z > 2 Lyman-break galaxies and 10 z > 2 QSOs from a total of 19 VIMOS pointings. From the galaxy spectra, we observe a 625 ± 510kms velocity offset between the interstellar absorption and Lyman α emission-line redshifts, consistent with previous results. Using the photometric and spectroscopic catalogues, we have analysed the galaxy clustering at z≈ 3. The angular correlation function, w(θ), is well fitted by a double power law with clustering scalelength, r = 3.19 h Mpc and slope γ= 2.45 for r < 1h Mpc and r = 4.37 h Mpc with γ= 1.61 ± 0.15 at larger scales. Using the redshift sample we estimate the semiprojected correlation function, w (σ), and, for a γ= 1.8 power law, find r = 3.67 h Mpc for the VLT sample and r = 3.98 h Mpc for a combined VLT+Keck sample. From ξ(s) and ξ(σ, π), and assuming the above ξ(r) models, we find that the combined VLT and Keck surveys require a galaxy pairwise velocity dispersion of ≈700kms , higher than ≈400kms assumed by previous authors. We also measure a value for the gravitational growth rate parameter of β(z= 3) = 0.48 ± 0.17, again higher than that previously found and implying a low value for the bias of b= 2.06 . This value is consistent with the galaxy clustering amplitude which gives b= 2.22 ± 0.16, assuming the standard cosmology, implying that the evolution of the gravitational growth rate is also consistent with Einstein gravity. Finally, we have compared our Lyman-break galaxy clustering amplitudes with lower redshift measurements and find that the clustering strength is not inconsistent with that of low-redshift L* spirals for simple 'long-lived' galaxy models.


Cosmology: observations, Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics, Intergalactic medium, Large-scale structure of Universe





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© 2011 The Authors


Peer reviewed accepted manuscript.



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