Journal Article

The WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey: survey design and first data release

Michael J. Drinkwater, Russell J. Jurek, Chris Blake, David Woods, Kevin A. Pimbblet, Karl Glazebrook, Rob Sharp, Michael B. Pracy, Sarah Brough, Matthew Colless, Warrick J. Couch, Scott M. Croom, Tamara M. Davis, Duncan Forbes, Karl Forster, David G. Gilbank, Michael Gladders, Ben Jelliffe, Nick Jones, I-hui Li, Barry Madore, D. Christopher Martin, Gregory B. Poole, Todd Small, Emily Wisnioski, Ted Wyder and H. K. C. Yee

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 401, issue 3, pages 1429-1452
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey: survey design and first data release

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The WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey is a survey of 240 000 emission-line galaxies in the distant Universe, measured with the AAOmega spectrograph on the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT). The primary aim of the survey is to precisely measure the scale of baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) imprinted on the spatial distribution of these galaxies at look-back times of 4–8 Gyr.

The target galaxies are selected using ultraviolet (UV) photometry from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite, with a flux limit of NUV < 22.8 mag. We also require that the targets are detected at optical wavelengths, specifically in the range 20.0 < r < 22.5 mag. We use the Lyman break method applied to the UV colours, with additional optical colour limits, to select high-redshift galaxies. The galaxies generally have strong emission lines, permitting reliable redshift measurements in relatively short exposure times on the AAT. The median redshift of the galaxies is zmed= 0.6. The redshift range containing 90 per cent of the galaxies is 0.2 < z < 1.0.

The survey will sample a volume of ∼1 Gpc3 over a projected area on the sky of 1000 deg2, with an average target density of 350 deg−2. Detailed forecasts indicate that the survey will measure the BAO scale to better than 2 per cent and the tangential and radial acoustic wave scales to approximately 3 and 5 per cent, respectively. Combining the WiggleZ constraints with existing cosmic microwave background measurements and the latest supernova data, the marginalized uncertainties in the cosmological model are expected to be σ(Ωm) = 0.02 and σ(w) = 0.07 (for a constant w model). The WiggleZ measurement of w will constitute a robust, precise and independent test of dark energy models.

This paper provides a detailed description of the survey and its design, as well as the spectroscopic observations, data reduction and redshift measurement techniques employed. It also presents an analysis of the properties of the target galaxies, including emission-line diagnostics which show that they are mostly extreme starburst galaxies, and Hubble Space Telescope images, which show that they contain a high fraction of interacting or distorted systems. In conjunction with this paper, we make a public data release of data for the first 100 000 galaxies measured for the project.

Keywords: surveys; galaxies: high-redshift; galaxies: photometry; galaxies: starburst; cosmology: observations; ultraviolet: galaxies

Journal Article.  16683 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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