The VLBA CANDELS GOODS-North Survey. I - Survey Design, Processing, Data Products, and Source Counts

Roger P. Deane, Jack F. Radcliffe, Ann Njeri, Alexander Akoto-Danso, Gianni Bernardi, Oleg M. Smirnov, Rob Beswick, Michael A. Garrett, Matt J. Jarvis, Imogen H. Whittam, Stephen Bourke, Zsolt Paragi

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The past decade has seen significant advances in wide-field cm-wave very long baseline interferometry (VLBI), which is timely given the wide-area, synoptic survey-driven strategy of major facilities across the electromagnetic spectrum. While wide-field VLBI poses significant post-processing challenges that can severely curtail its potential scientific yield, many developments in the km-scale connected-element interferometer sphere are directly applicable to addressing these. Here we present the design, processing, data products, and source counts from a deep (11 μJy beam-1), quasi-uniform sensitivity, contiguous wide-field (160 arcmin2) 1.6 GHz VLBI survey of the CANDELS GOODS-North field. This is one of the best-studied extragalactic fields at milli-arcsecond resolution and, therefore, is well-suited as a comparative study for our Tera-pixel VLBI image. The derived VLBI source counts show consistency with those measured in the COSMOS field, which broadly traces the AGN population detected in arcsecond-scale radio surveys. However, there is a distinctive flattening in the S1.4GHz 
100-500 μJy flux density range, which suggests a transition in the population of compact faint radio sources, qualitatively consistent with the excess source counts at 15 GHz that is argued to be an unmodelled population of radio cores. This survey approach will assist in deriving robust VLBI source counts and broadening the discovery space for future wide-field VLBI surveys, including VLBI with the Square Kilometre Array, which will include new large field-of-view antennas on the African continent at ≥1000~km baselines. In addition, it may be useful in the design of both monitoring and/or rapidly triggered VLBI transient programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2024


  • surveys
  • galaxies: active
  • techniques: interferometric
  • techniques: high angular resolution


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