The LOFAR Multifrequency Snapshot Sky Survey (MSSS). I. Survey description and first results

G. H. Heald 1 R. F. Pizzo 1 E. Orrú 1 R. P. Breton 2 D. Carbone C. Ferrari M. J. Hardcastle 3 W. Jurusik 4 G. Macario 5 D. Mulcahy 6 D. Rafferty A. Asgekar 1 M. Brentjens 1 R. A. Fallows W. Frieswijk 1 M. C. Toribio B. Adebahr M. Arts M. R. Bell 6 A. Bonafede 7 J. Bray J. Broderick 6 T. Cantwell P. Carroll Y. Cendes 8 A. O. Clarke J. Croston S. Daiboo 9 F. de Gasperin 10 J. Gregson J. Harwood T. Hassall V. Heesen 11 A. Horneffer A. J. van der Horst 8 M. Iacobelli V. Jelić D. Jones D. Kant G. Kokotanekov 8 P. Martin J. P. Mckean 1 L. K. Morabito 12 B. Nikiel-Wroczyński A. Offringa V. N. Pandey 1 M. Pandey-Pommier 13 M. Pietka L. Pratley C. Riseley A. Rowlinson 14 J. Sabater A. M. M. Scaife 11 L. H. A. Scheers K. Sendlinger A. Shulevski M. Sipior C. Sobey 15 A. J. Stewart 16 A. Stroe J. Swinbank 8 C. Tasse 17 J. Trüstedt E. Varenius S. van Velzen 1 N. Vilchez 18 R. J. van Weeren 19 S. Wijnholds 1 W. L. Williams 20 A. G. de Bruyn R. Nijboer 1 M. Wise 8 A. Alexov 1 J. Anderson I. M. Avruch 21 R. Beck M. E. Bell 6 I. van Bemmel 1 M. J. Bentum G. Bernardi 22 P. Best F. Breitling 23 W. N. Brouw M. Brüggen 7 H. R. Butcher 24 B. Ciardi 25 J. E. Conway 26 E. de Geus A. de Jong M. de Vos 1 A. Deller 1 R.-J. Dettmar 27 S. Duscha J. Eislöffel 28 D. Engels 10 H. Falcke 29 R. Fender 6 M. A. Garrett 20 Jean-Mathias Grießmeier 30, 31 A. W. Gunst J. P. Hamaker J. W. T. Hessels 8 M. Hoeft 28 J. Hörandel 29 H. A. Holties 1 H. Intema 20 N. J. Jackson E. Jütte A. Karastergiou W. F. A. Klijn V. I. Kondratiev 1 L. V. E. Koopmans M. Kuniyoshi 15 G. Kuper 1 C. Law 8 J. van Leeuwen 8, 1 M. Loose P. Maat S. Markoff 8 R. Mcfadden D. Mckay-Bukowski M. Mevius 1 J. C. A. Miller-Jones R. Morganti H. Munk A. Nelles 29 J. E. Noordam 1 M. J. Norden 1 H. Paas A. G. Polatidis 1 W. Reich 15 A. Renting 1 H. Röttgering 20 A. Schoenmakers 1 D. Schwarz J. Sluman 1 O. Smirnov B. W. Stappers M. Steinmetz 32 Michel Tagger 31 Y. Tang S. ter Veen 33 S. Thoudam 29 R. Vermeulen 1 C. Vocks 23 C. Vogt 1 R. A. M. J. Wijers O. Wucknitz S. Yatawatta 1 P. Zarka 17
Abstract : We present the Multifrequency Snapshot Sky Survey (MSSS), the first northern-sky LOFAR imaging survey. In this introductory paper, we first describe in detail the motivation and design of the survey. Compared to previous radio surveys, MSSS is exceptional due to its intrinsic multifrequency nature providing information about the spectral properties of the detected sources over more than two octaves (from 30 to 160 MHz). The broadband frequency coverage, together with the fast survey speed generated by LOFAR's multibeaming capabilities, make MSSS the first survey of the sort anticipated to be carried out with the forthcoming Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Two of the sixteen frequency bands included in the survey were chosen to exactly overlap the frequency coverage of large-area Very Large Array (VLA) and Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) surveys at 74 MHz and 151 MHz respectively. The survey performance is illustrated within the "MSSS Verification Field" (MVF), a region of 100 square degrees centered at J2000 (RA,Dec)=(15h,69deg). The MSSS results from the MVF are compared with previous radio survey catalogs. We assess the flux and astrometric uncertainties in the catalog, as well as the completeness and reliability considering our source finding strategy. We determine the 90% completeness levels within the MVF to be 100 mJy at 135 MHz with 108" resolution, and 550 mJy at 50 MHz with 166" resolution. Images and catalogs for the full survey, expected to contain 150,000-200,000 sources, will be released to a public web server. We outline the plans for the ongoing production of the final survey products, and the ultimate public release of images and source catalogs.
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G. H. Heald, R. F. Pizzo, E. Orrú, R. P. Breton, D. Carbone, et al.. The LOFAR Multifrequency Snapshot Sky Survey (MSSS). I. Survey description and first results. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2015, 582, pp.A123. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201425210⟩. ⟨insu-01343089⟩

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