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

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Program Information for 2008A-0035


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

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

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 $\Delta z / (1+z) \approx 0.07$ 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 -1.8$ $\mu$m, which should yield redshifts with an accuracy of $\approx 0.02$. 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.

Program Type: Survey

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2008A):  KP-4m/NEWFIRM -- 24n on Mar 24 - Apr 16 2008
Run 1 (2008B):  KP-4m/NEWFIRM -- 16n on Dec 18 - Dec 25 2008, Dec 29 - Jan 21 2009
Run 1 (2009A):  KP-4m/NEWFIRM -- 35n on Feb 02 - Feb 12 2009, Mar 02 - Mar 10 2009, Apr 09 - Apr 14 2009, Apr 28 - May 07 2009, Jun 10 - Jun 13 2009


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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