AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 40. Radio Source Surveys
Display, Thursday, January 7, 1999, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibits Hall 1

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[40.01] Faint Optical Counterparts for Millijansky Radio Sources from the FIRST Survey

I. A. Yadigaroglu, A. Buchalter, D. J. Helfand (Columbia University), R. H. Becker (UC Davis), R. L. White (STScI)

Using the MDM Observatory, we have imaged a large sample of FIRST sources in the I and R bands as prepatory work in obtaining a complete redshift distribution for mJy radio sources. The FIRST sources were taken from two types of regions: random fields where complementary multi-fiber spectra were obtained, and ``cluster'' fields, corresponding to the most overdense regions in the FIRST catalog. In both cases we have on the order of 60 sources to a limiting magnitude of ~24 (80 % complete for galaxies). Given the small FIRST positional uncertainties, we are able to find optical counterparts for nearly all our radio targets. We plan to obtain spectra for a subset of these faint counterparts. Here we present the identification statistics as a function of radio source flux density and morphology, optical magnitude and morphology, and the surrounding source density in the two bands. The completed redshift distribution will constrain the poorly known luminosity functions for faint radio source populations and allow for comparison with AGN and starburst populations selected in the submillimeter, optical, and X-ray bands; in addition, the redshift sample will allow us to construct a 3-d correlation function from the 2-d angular correlation function, and is essential in interpreting weak lensing signals in the FIRST survey.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ion@astro.columbia.edu

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