In this paper we present a new deep, wide-field near-infrared imaging survey. Our J- and K-band observations in four separate fields (0226-04, 2217+00, 1003+02, 1400+05) complement optical BVRI, ultraviolet and spectroscopic observations undertaken as part of the VIMOS-VLT deep survey (VVDS). In total, our survey spans ∼400 arcmin2. Our catalogues are reliable in all fields to at least K ∼ 20.75 and J ∼ 21.50 (defined as the magnitude where object contamination is less than 10% and completeness greater than 90%). Taken together these four fields represents a unique combination of depth, wavelength coverage and area. Most importantly, our survey regions span a broad range of right ascension and declination which allow us to make a robust estimate of the effects of cosmic variance. We describe the complete data reduction process from raw observations to the construction of source lists and outline a comprehensive series of tests carried out to characterise the reliability of the final catalogues. From simulations we determine the completeness function of each final stacked image, and estimate the fraction of spurious sources in each magnitude bin. We compare the statistical properties of our catalogues with literature compilations. We find that our J- and K-selected galaxy counts are in good agreement with previously published works, as are our (J - K) versus K colour-magnitude diagrams. Stellar number counts extracted from our fields are consistent with a synthetic model of our galaxy. Using the location of the stellar locus in colour-magnitude space and the measured field-to-field variation in galaxy number counts we demonstrate that the absolute accuracy of our photometric calibration is at the 5% level or better. Finally, an investigation of the angular clustering of K-selected extended sources in our survey displays the expected scaling behaviour with limiting magnitude, with amplitudes in each magnitude bin in broad agreement with literature values. In summary, these catalogues will be an excellent tool to investigate the properties of near-infrared selected galaxies, and such investigations will be the subject of several articles currently in preparation.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Astronomía y astrofísica
- Ciencias planetarias y espacial