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VIII/71             The FIRST Survey Catalog, Version 03Apr11   (Becker+ 2003)

The FIRST Survey Catalog, Version 2003Apr11 Becker R.H., Helfand D.J., White R.L., Gregg M.D., Laurent-Muehleisen S.A. <Astrophys. J. 475, 479 (1997)> =1997ApJ...475..479W
ADC_Keywords: Radio sources ; Surveys Description: The Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty centimeters (FIRST) began in 1993. It uses the VLA (Very Large Array, a facility of the National Radio Observatory (NRAO)) at a frequency of 1.4GHz, and it is slated to 10,000 deg2 of the North and South Galactic Caps, to a sensitivity of about 1mJy with an angular resolution of about 5". The images produced by an automated mapping pipeline have pixels of 1.8arcsec, a typical rms of 0.15mJy, and a resolution of 5arcsec; the images are available on the Internet (see the FIRST home page at for details). The source catalogue is derived from the images. This version (2003 Apr 11) of the FIRST Survey is derived from the data taken from 1993 through September 2002, and contains about 811,000 sources covering 8422 square degrees in the North Galactic cap and 611 square degrees in the South Galactic cap. The FIRST survey is now substantially complete; the planned additions include a version with improved sidelobe flagging and deeper observations of the southern equatorial strip (with variability information), and maybe a small amount of additional data to fill holes within the surveyed area. File Summary:
FileName Lrecl Records Explanations
ReadMe 80 . This file first.dat 124 811117 North & South Galactic Caps
See also: : home page of the VLA FIRST Survey : Version History : the FIRST search engine : the FIRST Cutout Server. Byte-by-byte Description of file: *.dat
Bytes Format Units Label Explanations
1- 16 A16 --- FIRST *FIRST Source designation 18- 19 I2 h RAh *Right Ascension J2000 (hours) 21- 22 I2 min RAm *Right Ascension J2000 (minutes) 24- 29 F6.3 s RAs *Right Ascension J2000 (seconds) 31 A1 --- DE- *Declination J2000 (sign) 32- 33 I2 deg DEd *Declination J2000 (degrees) 35- 36 I2 arcmin DEm *Declination J2000 (minutes) 38- 42 F5.2 arcsec DEs *Declination J2000 (seconds) 44 A1 --- Wflag *[W] Warning flag 46- 53 F8.2 mJy Fpeak *Peak flux density at 1.4GHz 56- 63 F8.2 mJy Fint *Integrated flux density at 1.4GHz 66- 71 F6.3 mJy Rms *Local noise estimate 73- 78 F6.2 arcsec MajAxis *Major axis (FWHM) 80- 85 F6.2 arcsec MinAxis *Minor axis (FWHM) 87- 91 F5.1 deg PA *Position angle 93- 98 F6.2 arcsec fMaj *Fitted MajAxis before deconvolution 100-105 F6.2 arcsec fMin *Fitted MinAxis before deconvolution 107-111 F5.1 deg fPA *Fitted PA before deconvolution 113-124 A12 --- Field *Name of the coadded image containing the source
Note on FIRST: This column (not part of the original catalog) contains the source name built from the rule registered at IAU ('J' followed by truncated J2000-position) Note on RAh, RAm, RAs, DE-, DEd, DEm, DEs: Position (J2000) of the source. The accuracy of the position depends on the brightness and size of the source and the noise in the map. Point sources at the detection limit of the catalog have positions accurate to better than 1 arcsec at 90% confidence; 2 mJy point sources in typically noisy regions have positions good to 0.5 arcsec. An empirical expression for the positional accuracy is unc(90% confidence) = Size (1/SNR + 1/20) arcsec where Size is either the major or minor axis fitted FWHM (fMaj or fMin) as given in the catalog and SNR is the peak flux density signal-to-noise ratio: SNR = (Fpeak-0.25) / Rms (The positional uncertainty is of course elliptical for elliptical sources). The best possible positional uncertainty is limited to about 0.1 arcsec by our ability to fit source positions in maps with 1.8 arcsec pixels and by various random calibration uncertainties. Systematic errors in the positions are smaller than 0.05 arcsec. Note on Wflag: `W' is a warning flag indicating that the source may be a sidelobe of a nearby bright source. In the catalog, 29,450 sources (3.6%) are flagged as possible sidelobes. The flagging algorithm is an artificial intelligence approach based on oblique decision trees. Our analysis of the northern catalog indicates that < 10% of the objects flagged as sidelobes are real sources and that less than 1% of the unflagged sources in the catalog are sidelobes. Complete details of the sidelobe identification procedure are in the paper (1997ApJ...475..479W) IMPORTANT NOTE: The sidelobe flagging in the southern catalog is not as reliable as in the north because the sidelobe characteristics change with the zenith angle of the observation. We are working on improvements to the sidelobe-flagging, but for now it is important to be cautious in studies of individual southern sources. We recommend checking the images using the FIRST Cutout Server if there is any doubt about the reality of particular sources (in either the north or the south). This is easily done when using the FIRST Search Engine to search the catalog, since each source selected in the search has a link to the Cutout Server. Note on Fpeak, Fint: Fpeak and Fint are the peak and integrated flux densities measured in mJy. They are derived by fitting an elliptical Gaussian model to the source. To correct for the ``CLEAN bias'' effect, 0.25 mJy has been added to the peak flux density and the integrated flux density has been multiplied by (1+0.25/Fpeak) (see our Astrophysical Journal paper and our catalog paper for more details). The uncertainty in Fpeak is given by the rms noise at the source position, while the uncertainty in Fint can be considerably greater depending on the source size and morphology. For bright sources the accuracies of Fpeak and Fint are limited to about 5% by systematic effects. Note that for sources that are not well-described by an elliptical Gaussian model, Fint is not an accurate measure of the integrated flux density. Note on Rms: Rms is a local noise estimate at the source position measured in mJy. Rms is computed by combining the measured noise from all grid pointing images contributing to this coadded map position. Note that the significance of detection for a source is (Fpeak-0.25)/Rms, not Fpeak/Rms, because of the CLEAN bias correction to the peak flux density. The catalog includes only sources brighter than 5 Rms. FITS images giving the rms noise as a function of position on the sky are available for the northern and the southern areas. These images give the rms in mJy/beam tabulated on a ∼3 arcmin grid in RA and Declination. If there is no source in the catalog at a given position, the source peak flux density (before CLEAN bias correction) is less than 5 times the coverage map rms value at that position. Note on MajAxis, MinAxis, PA: MajAxis, MinAxis, and PA give the major and minor axes (FWHM in arcsec) and position angle (degrees east of north) derived from the elliptical Gaussian model for the source. MajAxis and MinAxis have been deconvolved to remove blurring by the elliptical Gaussian point-spread function. (The fitted parameters before deconvolution are given in the fMaj, fMin, and fPA columns). In the north the beam is circular 5.4 arcsec FWHM; south of +04d33'21" it is elliptical, 6.4x5.4 arcsec FWHM, with the major axis running north-south. In the southern Galactic cap (RA = 21h to 3h), the elliptical beam size increases further to 6.8x5.4 arcsec south of declination -02d30'25" Noise can cause the fitted values of the major and minor axes (before deconvolution) to be smaller than the beam. The corresponding deconvolved size is given as zero in those cases. The uncertainties in the deconvolved sizes depend on both the brightness and the sizes. Objects at the catalog flux density limit have uncertainties of about 2 arcsec in their sizes (so faint objects with Maj < 2 arcsec are consistent with point sources). An simple empirical estimate of the uncertainty is Sigma(Size) = 10 arcsec (1/SNR + 1/75) where SNR is the signal-to-noise ratio defined above. Note on fMaj, fMin, fPA: fMaj, fMin, and fPA give the major and minor axes (FWHM in arcsec) and position angle (degrees east of north) derived from the elliptical Gaussian model for the source. These are the fitted sizes measured directly from the image; the elliptical point-spread function has not been deconvolved. Note on Field: The Field Name is the name of the coadded image containing the source. Note that the field name encodes the position of the field center: field hhmmm+ddmmm is centered at RA=hh mm.m, Dec=+dd mm.m. The images are available from several archives and through the FIRST Cutout Server. All field names in the current catalog end with a letter E through J, depending on the date of the last catalog release in which the image was modified. The J fields are new in this catalog, while sources ex tracted from the E/F/G/H/I fields are nearly identical to those in the previous version of the catalog.
History: The catalog file (originally catalog_03apr11.bin.gz) was copied from on 18 April 2003. The preceding versions were numbered in CDS Archives: VIII/59 (1999 July 21) VIII/51 (1998 Feb 04) VIII/48 (1997 April 24) See for the complete version history.
(End) Robert H. Becker [LLNL], Richard L. White [STScI] 18-Apr-2003
The document above follows the rules of the Standard Description for Astronomical Catalogues.From this documentation it is possible to generate f77 program to load files into arrays or line by line

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