Observations of z ≈ 7–8 galaxies suggest substantial star formation at z > 9–10. Here we use the full two-year HUDF09 data to conduct an ultra-deep search for z ≈ 10 galaxies in the heart of the reionization epoch, only 500 Myr after the Big Bang. Not only do we find one possible z ≈ 10 galaxy candidate, but we show that, regardless of source detections, the star formation rate density is much smaller (~10%) at this time than it is just ~200 Myr later at z ≈ 8. This demonstrates how rapid galaxy build-up was at z ≈ 10, as galaxies increased in both luminosity density and volume density from z ≈ 10 to z ≈ 8. The 100–200 Myr before z ≈ 10 is clearly a crucial phase in the assembly of the earliest galaxies.
R. J. Bouwens, G. D. Illingworth, I. Labbe, P. A. Oesch, M. Trenti, C. M. Carollo, P. G. van Dokkum, M. Franx, M. Stiavelli, V. González, D. Magee & L. Bradley