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Session 64 - New Digital Surveys in the Optical and Near IR: Technical Challenges and Scientific Opportunities - II.
Topical, Oral session, Wednesday, June 10
The Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) began routine operations from its northern facility on Mt. Hopkins, AZ one year ago, and from its southern facility on Cerro Tololo, Chile in March of this year. At each site, 50-inch telescopes equipped with identical 3-channel cameras, are systematically imaging the sky in three near infrared wavelength bands, J (1.25\mum), H (1.65\mum) and K_s (2.17\mum). To date, over 10,000 deg^2 of sky have been observed. Ongoing processing and calibration of the survey image data produces three data products: 1) an Image Atlas that will eventually contain approximately one million 512x1024 pixel images (1 arcsec/pix) in the three colors, covering the full sky, 2) a highly complete and reliable catalog that will contain \sim300 million point sources having SNR>10 photometry at J\leq15.8, H\leq15.1 and K_s\leq14.3 mag. and an astrometric accuracy <0.5arcsec RMS, and 3) a catalog of approximately one million resolved sources, primarily galaxies, having SNR>10 photometric accuracy at J\leq15.5, H\leq14.8 and K_s\leq13.5 mag. Incremental releases of these data products to the community are scheduled to begin in the Spring of 1999.
A brief report on the current status and outlook for 2MASS will be given, along with analyses that demonstrate that the survey is achieving, if not exceeding its stated performance goals. Results of several pilot studies that are supporting 2MASS survey validation are presented as a preview of the tremendous scientific opportunities that will be available with the 2MASS databases. Key among these are investigations of the lowest mass objects in the solar neighborhood, probes of the structure of the Milky Way, and of the local universe, and the search for populations of extremely red active galactic nuclei.
Program listing for Wednesday