CANDELS: The Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey

The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (Impact Factor: 14.14). 05/2011; DOI: 10.1088/0067-0049/197/2/35
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT The Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS)
is designed to document the first third of galactic evolution, over the
approximate redshift (z) range 8--1.5. It will image >250,000 distant galaxies
using three separate cameras on the Hubble Space Telescope, from the
mid-ultraviolet to the near-infrared, and will find and measure Type Ia
supernovae at z>1.5 to test their accuracy as standardizable candles for
cosmology. Five premier multi-wavelength sky regions are selected, each with
extensive ancillary data. The use of five widely separated fields mitigates
cosmic variance and yields statistically robust and complete samples of
galaxies down to a stellar mass of 10^9 M_\odot to z \approx 2, reaching the
knee of the ultraviolet luminosity function (UVLF) of galaxies to z \approx 8.
The survey covers approximately 800 arcmin^2 and is divided into two parts. The
CANDELS/Deep survey (5\sigma\ point-source limit H=27.7 mag) covers \sim 125
arcmin^2 within GOODS-N and GOODS-S. The CANDELS/Wide survey includes GOODS and
three additional fields (EGS, COSMOS, and UDS) and covers the full area to a
5\sigma\ point-source limit of H \gtrsim 27.0 mag. Together with the Hubble
Ultra Deep Fields, the strategy creates a three-tiered "wedding cake" approach
that has proven efficient for extragalactic surveys. Data from the survey are
nonproprietary and are useful for a wide variety of science investigations. In
this paper, we describe the basic motivations for the survey, the CANDELS team
science goals and the resulting observational requirements, the field selection
and geometry, and the observing design. The Hubble data processing and products
are described in a companion paper.

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