The LOFAR LBA Sky Surve

de Gasperin, F.; Edler, H. W.; Williams, W. L.; Callingham, J. R.; Asabere, B.; Brüggen, M.; Brunetti, G.; Dijkema, T. J.; Hardcastle, M. J.; Iacobelli, M.; Offringa, A.; Norden, M. J.; Röttgering, H. J. A.; Shimwell, T.; van Weeren, R. J.; Tasse, C.; Bomans, D. J.; Bonafede, A.; Botteon, A.; Cassano, R.; Chyży, K. T.; Cuciti, V.; Emig, K. L.; Kadler, M.; Miley, G.; Mingo, B.; Oei, M. S. S. L.; Prandoni, I.; Schwarz, D. J. and Zarka, P. (2023). The LOFAR LBA Sky Surve. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 673, article no. A165.



Context. The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) is the only existing radio interferometer able to observe at ultra-low frequencies (<100 MHz) with high resolution (<15") and high sensitivity (<1 mJy beam−1). To exploit these capabilities, the LOFAR Surveys Key Science Project is using the LOFAR Low Band Antenna (LBA) to carry out a sensitive wide-area survey at 41–66 MHz named the LOFAR LBA Sky Survey (LoLSS).
Aims. LoLSS is covering the whole northern sky above declination 24° with a resolution of 15" and a sensitivity of 1–2 mJy beam−1 (1σ) depending on declination, field properties, and observing conditions. Here we present the first data release, including a discussion of the calibration strategy and the properties of the released images and catalogues.
Methods. A fully automated pipeline was used to reduce the 95 fields included in this data release. The data reduction procedures developed for this project have a general application and are currently being used to process almost all LOFAR LBA interferometric observations. Compared to the preliminary release, direction-dependent errors have been derived and corrected for during the calibration process. This results in a typical sensitivity of 1.55 mJy beam−1, which is four times better than for the preliminary release, at the target resolution of 15".
Results. The first data release of the LOFAR LBA Sky Survey covers 650 deg2 in the HETDEX spring field. The resultant data products released to the community include mosaic images (I and V Stokes) of the region, and a catalogue of 42 463 detected sources and related Gaussian components used to describe the sources' morphologies. Separate catalogues for the six in-band frequencies of 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, and 64 MHz are also released.
Conclusions. The first data release of LoLSS shows that, despite the influences of the ionosphere and radio frequency interference, LOFAR can conduct large-scale surveys in the frequency window 42-66 MHz with unprecedentedly high sensitivity and resolution. The data can be used to derive unique information on the low-frequency spectral properties of many thousands of sources with a wide range of applications in extragalactic and galactic astronomy.

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