SWIRE: The SIRTF Wide-Area Infrared Extragalactic Survey

Lonsdale, Carol J.; Smith, Harding E.; Rowan-Robinson, Michael; Surace, Jason; Shupe, David; Xu, Cong; Oliver, Sebastian; Padgett, Deborah; Fang, Fan; Conrow, Tim; Franceschini, Alberto; Gautier, Nick; Griffin, Matt; Hacking, Perry; Masci, Frank; Morrison, Glenn; O'Linger, Joanne; Owen, Frazer; Pérez-Fournon, Ismael; Pierre, Marguerite; Puetter, Rick; Stacey, Gordon; Castro, Sandr; Polletta, Maria del Carmen; Farrah, Duncan; Jarrett, Tom; Frayer, Dave; Siana, Brian; Babbedge, Tom; Dye, Simon; Fox, Matt; Gonzalez-Solares, Eduardo; Salaman, Malcolm; Berta, Stefano; Condon, Jim J.; Dole, Hervé; and Serjeant, Steve (2003). SWIRE: The SIRTF Wide-Area Infrared Extragalactic Survey. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 115(810) pp. 897–927.

URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0305375


The SIRTF Wide-Area Infrared Extragalactic Survey (SWIRE), the largest SIRTF Legacy program, is a wide-area imaging survey to trace the evolution of dusty, star-forming galaxies, evolved stellar populations, and active galactic nuclei (AGNs) as a function of environment, from redshifts z~3 to the current epoch. SWIRE will survey seven high-latitude fields, totaling 60-65 deg2 in all seven SIRTF bands: Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) 3.6, 4.5, 5.6, and 8 mum and Multiband Imaging Photometer for SIRTF (MIPS) 24, 70, and 160 mum. Extensive modeling suggests that the Legacy Extragalactic Catalog may contain in excess of 2 million IR-selected galaxies, dominated by (1) ~150,000 luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs; LFIR>1011 Lsolar) detected by MIPS (and significantly more detected by IRAC), ~7000 of these with z>2 (2) 1 million IRAC-detected early-type galaxies (~2×105 with z>1 and ~10,000 with z>2) and (3) ~20,000 classical AGNs detected with MIPS, plus significantly more dust-obscured quasi-stellar objects/AGNs among the LIRGs. SWIRE will provide an unprecedented view of the evolution of galaxies, structure, and AGNs.
The key scientific goals of SWIRE are (1) to determine the evolution of actively star forming and passively evolving galaxies in order to understand the history of galaxy formation in the context of cosmic structure formation; (2) to determine the evolution of the spatial distribution and clustering of evolved galaxies, starbursts, and AGNs in the key redshift range 0.5<z<3 over which much of cosmic evolution has occurred; and (3) to determine the evolutionary relationship between ``normal galaxies'' and AGNs and the contribution of AGN accretion energy versus stellar nucleosynthesis to the cosmic backgrounds. The large area of SWIRE is important to establish statistically significant population samples over enough volume cells that we can resolve the star formation history as a function of epoch and environment, i.e., in the context of structure formation. The large volume is also optimized for finding rare objects.
The SWIRE fields are likely to become the next generation of large ``cosmic windows'' into the extragalactic sky. They have been uniquely selected to minimize Galactic cirrus emission over large scales. The Galaxy Evolution Explorer will observe them as part of its deep 100 deg2 survey, as will Herschel. SWIRE includes ~9 deg2 of the unique large-area XMM Large Scale Structure hard X-ray imaging survey and is partly covered by the UKIDSS deep J and K survey. An extensive optical/near-IR imaging program is underway from the ground.
The SWIRE data are nonproprietary; catalogs and images will be released twice yearly, beginning about 11 months after SIRTF launch. Details of the data products and release schedule are presented.

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