First release of Apertif imaging survey data
Context. Apertif is a phased-array feed system for the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope, providing forty instantaneous beams over 300 MHz of bandwidth. A dedicated survey program utilizing this upgrade started on 1 July 2019, with the last observations taken on 28 February 2022. The imaging survey component provides radio continuum, polarization, and spectral line data.
Aims: Public release of data is critical for maximizing the legacy of a survey. Toward that end, we describe the release of data products from the first year of survey operations, through 30 June 2020. In particular, we focus on defining quality control metrics for the processed data products.
Methods: The Apertif imaging pipeline, Apercal, automatically produces non-primary beam corrected continuum images, polarization images and cubes, and uncleaned spectral line and dirty beam cubes for each beam of an Apertif imaging observation. For this release, processed data products are considered on a beam-by-beam basis within an observation. We validate the continuum images by using metrics that identify deviations from Gaussian noise in the residual images. If the continuum image passes validation, we release all processed data products for a given beam. We apply further validation to the polarization and line data products and provide flags indicating the quality of those data products.
Results: We release all raw observational data from the first year of survey observations, for a total of 221 observations of 160 independent target fields, covering approximately one thousand square degrees of sky. Images and cubes are released on a per beam basis, and 3374 beams (of 7640 considered) are released. The median noise in the continuum images is 41.4 uJy beam−1, with a slightly lower median noise of 36.9 uJy beam−1 in the Stokes V polarization image. The median angular resolution is 11.6″/sin δ. The median noise for all line cubes, with a spectral resolution of 36.6 kHz, is 1.6 mJy beam−1, corresponding to a 3-σ H I column density sensitivity of 1.8 × 1020 atoms cm−2 over 20 km s−1 (for a median angular resolution of 24″ × 15″). Line cubes at lower frequency have slightly higher noise values, consistent with the global RFI environment and overall Apertif system performance. We also provide primary beam images for each individual Apertif compound beam. The data are made accessible using a Virtual Observatory interface and can be queried using a variety of standard tools.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- November 2022
- radio continuum: galaxies;
- radio lines: galaxies;
- galaxies: ISM;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- Accepted for publication in A&