The e-MERLIN Galaxy Evolution Survey (e-MERGE): Overview and Survey Description

Thomas Muxlow, Alasdair Thomson, Jack Radcliffe, Nicholas Wrigley, Robert Beswick, Simon Garrington, Megan Argo, Michael Garrett, Anita Richards, Eskil Varenius

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We present an overview and description of the e-MERLIN Galaxy Evolution survey (e-MERGE) Data Release 1 (DR1), a large program of high-resolution 1.5 GHz radio observations of the GOODS-N field comprising ∼ 140 hours of observations with e-MERLIN and ∼ 40 hours with the Very Large Array (VLA). We combine the long baselines of e-MERLIN (providing high angular resolution) with the relatively closely-packed antennas of the VLA (providing excellent surface brightness sensitivity) to produce a deep 1.5 GHz radio survey with the sensitivity (∼ 1.5µJy beam−1), angular resolution (0.002–0.007) and field-of-view (∼ 150×150) to detect and spatially resolve star-forming galaxies and AGN at z & 1. The goal of e-MERGE is to provide new constraints on the deep, sub-arcsecond radio sky which will be surveyed by SKA1-mid. In this initial publication, we discuss our data analysis techniques, including steps taken to model in-beam source variability over a ∼ 20 year baseline and the development of new point spread function/primary beam models to seamlessly merge e-MERLIN and VLA data in the uv plane. We present early science results, including measurements of the luminosities and/or linear sizes of ∼ 500 galaxes selected at 1.5 GHz. In combination with deep Hubble Space Telescope observations, we measure a mean radio-to-optical size ratio of reMERGE/rHST ∼ 1.02 ± 0.03, suggesting that in most high-redshift galaxies, the ∼GHz continuum emission traces the stellar light seen in optical imaging. This is the first in a series of papers which will explore the ∼kpc-scale radio properties of star-forming galaxies and AGN in the GOODS-N field observed by e-MERGE DR1.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Early online date8 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Galaxies: radio continuum
  • Astronomical instrumentation
  • methods and techniques: interferometric


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