The Coordinated Radio and Infrared Survey for High-Mass Star Formation (The CORNISH Survey). I. Survey Design
We describe the motivation, design, and implementation of the CORNISH survey, an arcsecond-resolution radio continuum survey of the inner galactic plane at 5 GHz using the Very Large Array (VLA). It is a blind survey coordinated with the northern Spitzer GLIMPSE I region covering 10° < l < 65° and |b| < 1° at similar resolution. We discuss in detail the strategy that we employed to control the shape of the synthesised beam across this survey, which covers a wide range of fairly low declinations. Two snapshots separated by 4h kept the beam elongation to less that 1.5 over 75% of the survey area and less than 2 over 98% of the survey. The prime scientific motivation is to provide an unbiased survey for ultra-compact H II regions to study this key phase in massive star formation. A sensitivity around 2 mJy will allow the automatic distinction between radio-loud and radio-quiet mid-IR sources found in the Spitzer surveys. This survey has many legacy applications beyond star formation, including evolved stars, active stars and binaries, and extragalactic sources. The CORNISH survey for compact ionized sources complements other Galactic plane surveys that target diffuse and nonthermal sources, as well as atomic and molecular phases to build up a complete picture of the interstellar medium in the Galaxy.