LOFAR/H-ATLAS: a deep low-frequency survey of the Herschel-ATLAS North Galactic Pole field

Published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2016 | Open access with ArXiv

Hardcastle, M. J.; Gürkan, G.; van Weeren, R. J.; Williams, W. L.; Best, P. N.; de Gasperin, F.; Rafferty, D. A.; Read, S. C.; Sabater, J.; Shimwell, T. W.; Smith, D. J. B.; Tasse, C.; Bourne, N.; Brienza, M.; Brüggen, M.; Brunetti, G.; Chyży, K. T.; Conway, J.; Dunne, L.; Eales, S. A.; Maddox, S. J.; Jarvis, M. J.; Mahony, E. K.; Morganti, R.; Prandoni, I.; Röttgering, H. J. A.; Valiante, E.; White, G. J.

We present Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) High-Band Array observations of the Herschel-ATLAS North Galactic Pole survey area. The survey we have carried out, consisting of four pointings covering around 142 deg2 of sky in the frequency range 126-173 MHz, does not provide uniform noise coverage but otherwise is representative of the quality of data to be expected in the planned LOFAR wide-area surveys, and has been reduced using recently developed `facet calibration’ methods at a resolution approaching the full resolution of the data sets (̃10 × 6 arcsec) and an rms off-source noise that ranges from 100 μJy beam-1 in the centre of the best fields to around 2 mJy beam-1 at the furthest extent of our imaging. We describe the imaging, cataloguing and source identification processes, and present some initial science results based on a 5σ source catalogue. These include (I) an initial look at the radio/far-infrared correlation at 150 MHz, showing that many Herschel sources are not yet detected by LOFAR; (II) number counts at 150 MHz, including, for the first time, observational constraints on the numbers of star-forming galaxies; (III) the 150-MHz luminosity functions for active and star-forming galaxies, which agree well with determinations at higher frequencies at low redshift, and show strong redshift evolution of the star-forming population; and (IV) some discussion of the implications of our observations for studies of radio galaxy life cycles.