Context. Deep representative surveys of galaxies at different epochs are needed to make progress in understanding galaxy evolution. Aims. We describe the completed VIMOS VLT Deep Survey and the final data release of 35 016 galaxies and type-I AGN with measured spectroscopic redshifts covering all epochs up to redshift z ∼ 6.7, in areas from 0.142 to 8.7 square degrees, and volumes from 0.5×106 to 2×107 h-3 Mpc 3. Methods. We selected samples of galaxies based solely on their i-band magnitude reaching iAB = 24.75. Spectra were obtained with VIMOS on the ESO-VLT integrating 0.75 h, 4.5 h, and 18 h for the Wide, Deep, and Ultra-Deep nested surveys, respectively. We demonstrate that any "redshift desert" can be crossed successfully using spectra covering 3650 ≤ λ ≤ 9350 A. A total of 1263 galaxies were again observed independently within the VVDS and from the VIPERS and MASSIV surveys. They were used to establish the redshift measurements reliability, to assess completeness in the VVDS sample, and to provide a weighting scheme taking the survey selection function into account. We describe the main properties of the VVDS samples, and the VVDS is compared to other spectroscopic surveys in the literature. Results. In total we have obtained spectroscopic redshifts for 34 594 galaxies, 422 type-I AGN, and 12 430 Galactic stars. The survey enabled identifying galaxies up to very high redshifts with 4669 redshifts in 1 ≤ zspec ≤ 2, 561 in 2 ≤ zspec ≤ 3, and 468 with zspec > 3, and specific populations like Lyman-α emitters were identified out to z = 6.62.We show that the VVDS occupies a unique place in the parameter space defined by area, depth, redshift coverage, and number of spectra. Conclusions. The VIMOS VLT Deep Survey provides a comprehensive survey of the distant universe, covering all epochs since z ∼ 6, or more than 12 Gyr of cosmic time, with a uniform selection, which is the largest such sample to date. A wealth of science results derived from the VVDS have shed new light on the evolution of galaxies and AGN and on their distribution in space over this large cosmic time. The VVDS further demonstrates that large deep spectroscopic redshift surveys over all these epochs in the distant Universe are a key tool to observational cosmology. To enhance the legacy value of the survey, a final public release of the complete VVDS spectroscopic redshift sample is available at http://cesam.lam.fr/vvds.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Astronomía y astrofísica
- Ciencias planetarias y espacial