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The Wide-Field Survey with the INT Wide-Field Camera

The INT Wide Field Survey (WFS) is using the Wide Field Camera (~0.3 deg2 ) on the 2.5m Isaac Newton Telescope (INT). The project was initiated in August 1998 and is expected to have a duration ofat least five years. The WFS is an umbrella for competitively judged science programmes which were assessed on the usual criteria plus the wider worth of the data set and the management competence of the proposing teams. 

Multicolour data is being obtained over 200+ square degrees to a typical depth of ~25 mag (u' through z'). Importantly, the data is publically accessible by the UK and NL communities from day one, with access to the rest of the world after one year. The preliminary processing and calibration (up to object catalogue generation) is the responsibility of the WFS project. 

In recent years a number of major survey programmes covering a variety of wavelengths have been initiated. The 2Mass project is covering the entire sky at a resolution of 4 arcsec in the JHK bands. The Sloan Sky Survey (SDSS) will cover significant areas of the Northern Hemisphere. These wide area surveys are having a significant impact, both as target selectors for 8 m class telescopes and for inherent survey science programmes. The aim of the WFS is to provide deeper data than the SDSS, but still cover significant targeted coverage, typically of fields being observed by facilities at other frequencies. 

The WFC comprises 4 CCD detectors giving a total of almost 35 million pixels per image. Each image is read and stored in less than 1 minute and its size is 72 Megabytes. Thanks to the upgraded observing system, the INT can observe without human intervention for several hours and shorten the overheads. Typically 6 Gigabytes of data is obtained each night. This is locally pre-processed using pipeline software. To support this, the ING Data Management System has been developed. This includes 2 DVD-R libraries giving a local on-line storage capacity of 6 TB. Later the data is sent to the Cambridge Survey Unit to give later access to UK and NL based researchers through an on-line archive.

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Last modified: 13 December 2010