NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2008A-0035

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Proposal Information for 2008A-0035


PI: Pieter van Dokkum, Yale University, pieter.vandokkum@yale.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 260 Whitney Ave, New Haven, CT 06511, USA

CoI: Danilo Marchesini, Yale University
CoI: Gabriel Brammer, Yale University
CoI: Katherine Whitaker, Yale University
CoI: Gregory Rudnick, NOAO
CoI: Mariska Kriek, Princeton
CoI: Garth Illingworth, UC Santa Cruz
CoI: Ryan Quadri, Leiden University
CoI: Ivo Labbe, Carnegie
CoI: Marijn Franx, Leiden
CoI: Kyoung-Soo Lee, Yale University

Title: The NEWFIRM medium-band survey: accurate redshifts for 40,000 K- selected galaxies

Abstract: Deep near-IR imaging surveys allow us to select and study distant galaxies in the rest-frame optical, and have transformed our understanding of the early Universe. As the vast majority of K- selected galaxies is too faint for spectroscopy, the interpretation relies on photometric redshifts determined from fitting templates to the broad-band photometry. The best-achieved accuracy of these redshifts (Delta) z / (1+z) ~ 0.07 at z>1.5, sufficient for determining the broad characteristics of the galaxy population but not for measuring accurate luminosities, masses, and colors. We propose a medium-band imaging survey with NEWFIRM to dramatically improve the accuracy of photometric redshifts of K-selected samples. Five custom filters provide crude ``spectra'' over the wavelength range 1-1.8 (mu)m, which should yield redshifts with an accuracy of ~ 0.02. In 28 nights of telescope time we will obtain accurate redshifts of 40,000 galaxies with K<21.5, 9000 of which are expected to be at z>1.5. This public database of high-quality SEDs and redshifts in two fields with a wealth of ancillary data (COSMOS and AEGIS) will provide a lasting legacy and open up a large array of science, ranging from accurate determinations of mass, luminosity, and color evolution to studies of the relations between the stellar populations of galaxies, their environment, and central black holes.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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