Over the next decade the VLA will carry out a systematic survey of the northern sky at 20 cm wavelength in two configurations. We have selected as a moniker the acronym FIRST, which in uncompressed form reads Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-cm. The high resolution survey will be done in 'B' configuration and hence will achieve an angular resolution of 5 arcsec. It will cover a 10**4 sq. degree region centered on the north Galactic pole. Each field will be observed for 3 minutes with a resulting RMS noise level of 0.2 mJy. The survey will result in a catalog of 1E6 discrete sources as well as detailed images composed of 4E10 pixels. To expedite the massive data analysis requirements this project entails, we have decided to utilize computers. It is our intention to release to the community compressed, machine-readable copies of all the images as well as an annotated catalog of sources. The challenge will be to accomplish this with a minimum of resources. We hope to maximally automate the data analysis pipeline to achieve this end. During our presentation, we will elaborate on the details of the methodology.
Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems III
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