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Published February 26, 2010 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Herschel Reference Survey


The Herschel Reference Survey is a Herschel guaranteed time key project and will be a benchmark study of dust in the nearby universe. The survey will complement a number of other Herschel key projects including large cosmological surveys that trace dust in the distant universe. We will use Herschel to produce images of a statistically-complete sample of 323 galaxies at 250, 350, and 500 μm. The sample is volume-limited, containing sources with distances between 15 and 25 Mpc and flux limits in the K band to minimize the selection effects associated with dust and with young high-mass stars and to introduce a selection in stellar mass. The sample spans the whole range of morphological types (ellipticals to late-type spirals) and environments (from the field to the center of the Virgo Cluster) and as such will be useful for other purposes than our own. We plan to use the survey to investigate (i) the dust content of galaxies as a function of Hubble type, stellar mass, and environment; (ii) the connection between the dust content and composition and the other phases of the interstellar medium; and (iii) the origin and evolution of dust in galaxies. In this article, we describe the goals of the survey, the details of the sample and some of the auxiliary observing programs that we have started to collect complementary data. We also use the available multifrequency data to carry out an analysis of the statistical properties of the sample.

Additional Information

© 2010. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Received 2008 August 17; accepted 2010 January 26; published 2010 February 26. We would like to thank the Herschel Project Scientist, G. Pilbratt; the SPIRE team; and all the people involved in the construction and the launch of Herschel. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and of the GOLD Mine database. A. B. wishes to thank S. Boissier for his help in the construction of the HRS database. We are grateful to the anonymous referee forinvaluable comments and suggestions which helped to improve the quality of the manuscript.

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Published - Boselli2010p7284Publ_Astron_Soc_Pac.pdf


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