The e-MERLIN Galaxy Evolution Survey (e-MERGE): Overview and Survey Description

T. W. B. Muxlow, N. H. Wrigley, R. J. Beswick, Ian Smail, I. M. McHardy, S. T. Garrington, R. J. Ivison, M. J. Jarvis, I. Prandoni, M. Bondi, D. Guidetti, M. K. Argo, David Bacon, P. N. Best, A. D. Biggs, S. C. Chapman, K. Coppin, H. Chen, T. K. Garratt, M. A. GarrettE. Ibar, Jean-Paul Kneib, Kirsten K. Knudsen, L. V. E. Koopmans, L. K. Morabito, A. Njeri, Chris Pearson, M. A. Perez-Torres, H. J. A. Rottgering, M. T. Sargent, Stephen Serjeant, A. M. Swinbank, E. Varenius, T. Venturi

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We present an overview and description of the eMERLIN Galaxy Evolution survey (eMERGE) Data Release 1 (DR1), a large program of high-resolution 1.5 GHz radio observations of the GOODS-N field comprising $\sim140$ hours of observations with eMERLIN and $\sim40$ hours with the Very Large Array (VLA). We combine the long baselines of eMERLIN (providing high angular resolution) with the relatively closely-packed antennas of the VLA (providing excellent surface brightness sensitivity) to produce a deep 1.5 GHz radio survey with the sensitivity ($\sim 1.5\mu$Jy beam$^{-1}$), angular resolution ($0.2"$--$0.7"$) and field-of-view ($\sim15' \times 15'$) to detect and spatially resolve star-forming galaxies and AGN at $z\gtrsim 1$. The goal of eMERGE is to provide new constraints on the deep, sub-arcsecond radio sky which will be surveyed by SKA1-mid. In this initial publication, we discuss our data analysis techniques, including steps taken to model in-beam source variability over a $\sim20$ year baseline and the development of new point spread function/primary beam models to seamlessly merge eMERLIN and VLA data in the $uv$ plane. We present early science results, including measurements of the luminosities and/or linear sizes of $\sim500$ galaxes selected at 1.5 GHz. In combination with deep Hubble Space Telescope observations, we measure a mean radio-to-optical size ratio of $r_{\rm eMERGE}/r_{\rm HST}\sim1.02\pm0.03$, suggesting that in most high-redshift galaxies, the $\sim$GHz continuum emission traces the stellar light seen in optical imaging. This is the first in a series of papers which will explore the $\sim$kpc-scale radio properties of star-forming galaxies and AGN in the GOODS-N field observed by eMERGE DR1.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2020


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