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The VLA Frontier Fields Survey: Deep, High-resolution Radio Imaging of the MACS Lensing Clusters at 3 and 6 GHz

Heywood, I. and Murphy, E. J. and Jiménez-Andrade, E. F. and Armus, L. and Cotton, W. D. and DeCoursey, C. and Dickinson, M. and Lazio, T. J. W. and Momjian, E. and Penner, K. and Smail, I. and Smirnov, O. M. (2021) The VLA Frontier Fields Survey: Deep, High-resolution Radio Imaging of the MACS Lensing Clusters at 3 and 6 GHz. Astrophysical Journal, 910 (2). Art. No. 105. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abdf61.

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The Frontier Fields project is an observational campaign targeting six galaxy clusters, with the intention of using the magnification provided by gravitational lensing to study galaxies that are extremely faint or distant. We used the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) at 3 and 6 GHz to observe three Frontier Fields: MACS J0416.1−2403 (z = 0.396), MACS J0717.5+3745 (z = 0.545), and MACS J1149.5+2223 (z = 0.543). The images reach noise levels of ~1 μJy beam⁻¹ with subarcsecond resolution (~2.5 kpc at z = 3), providing a high-resolution view of high-z star-forming galaxies that is unbiased by dust obscuration. We generate dual-frequency continuum images at two different resolutions per band, per cluster, and derive catalogs totaling 1966 compact radio sources. Components within the areas of Hubble Space Telescope and Subaru observations are cross-matched, providing host galaxy identifications for 1296 of them. We detect 13 moderately lensed (2.1 < μ < 6.5) sources, one of which has a demagnified peak brightness of 0.9 μJy beam⁻¹, making it a candidate for the faintest radio source ever detected. There are 66 radio sources exhibiting complex morphologies, and 58 of these have host galaxy identifications. We reveal that MACS J1149.5+2223 is not a cluster with a double relic, as the western candidate relic is resolved as a double-lobed radio galaxy associated with a foreground elliptical at z = 0.24. The VLA Frontier Fields project is a public legacy survey. The image and catalog products from this work are freely available.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemVLA Frontier Fields survey
Heywood, I.0000-0001-6864-5057
Murphy, E. J.0000-0001-7089-7325
Jiménez-Andrade, E. F.0000-0002-2640-5917
Armus, L.0000-0003-3498-2973
DeCoursey, C.0000-0002-4781-9078
Dickinson, M.0000-0001-5414-5131
Lazio, T. J. W.0000-0002-3873-5497
Momjian, E.0000-0003-3168-5922
Smail, I.0000-0003-3037-257X
Additional Information:© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 November 15; revised 2021 January 16; accepted 2021 January 21; published 2021 April 2. We thank the anonymous referees for taking the time to read and comment on this paper. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained from the data archive at the Space Telescope Science Institute. STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. Support for this work was provided by NASA through grant number HST-AR-14306.001-A from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. This work utilizes gravitational lensing models produced by PIs Brada, Natarajan & Kneib (CATS), Merten & Zitrin, Sharon, Williams, Keeton, Bernstein and Diego, and the GLAFIC group. This lens modeling was partially funded by the HST Frontier Fields program conducted by STScI. STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. The lens models were obtained from the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). This work is based in part on data collected at the Subaru Telescope, which is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. I.H. acknowledges support from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council [ST/N000919/1]; the Oxford Hintze Centre for Astrophysical Surveys, which is funded through generous support from the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation; and the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is a facility of the National Research Foundation (NRF), an agency of the Department of Science and Innovation. Facilities: Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array - , Hubble Space Telescope - , Subaru Telescope. - Software: Astropy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013, 2018), CASA (McMullin et al. 2007), Matplotlib (Hunter 2007), ProFound (Robotham et al. 2018), PyBDSF (Mohan & Rafferty 2015), wsclean (Offringa et al. 2014).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASANAS 5-26555
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/N000919/1
Hintze Family Charitable FoundationUNSPECIFIED
South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO)UNSPECIFIED
National Research Foundation (South Africa)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Radio continuum emission; Extragalactic radio sources; Galaxy clusters; Gravitational lensing; Very Large Array
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Radio continuum emission (1340); Extragalactic radio sources (508); Galaxy clusters (584); Gravitational lensing (670); Very Large Array (1766)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210413-144131500
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:I. Heywood et al 2021 ApJ 910 105
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108718
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Apr 2021 21:58
Last Modified:19 Apr 2021 22:31

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