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Euclid preparation: I. The Euclid Wide Survey

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
  • Euclid Collaboration
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/02/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Astronomy and Astrophysics
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date11/02/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Euclid is an ESA mission designed to constrain the properties of dark energy and gravity via weak gravitational lensing and galaxy clustering. It will carry out a wide area imaging and spectroscopy survey (EWS) in visible and near-infrared, covering roughly 15,000 square degrees of extragalactic sky on six years. The wide-field telescope and instruments are optimized for pristine PSF and reduced straylight, producing very crisp images. This paper presents the building of the Euclid reference survey: the sequence of pointings of EWS, Deep fields, Auxiliary fields for calibrations, and spacecraft movements followed by Euclid as it operates in a step-and-stare mode from its orbit around the Lagrange point L2. Each EWS pointing has four dithered frames; we simulate the dither pattern at pixel level to analyse the effective coverage. We use up-to-date models for the sky background to define the Euclid region-of-interest (RoI). The building of the reference survey is highly constrained from calibration cadences, spacecraft constraints and background levels; synergies with ground-based coverage are also considered. Via purposely-built software optimized to prioritize best sky areas, produce a compact coverage, and ensure thermal stability, we generate a schedule for the Auxiliary and Deep fields observations and schedule the RoI with EWS transit observations. The resulting reference survey RSD_2021A fulfills all constraints and is a good proxy for the final solution. Its wide survey covers 14,500 square degrees. The limiting AB magnitudes ($5\sigma$ point-like source) achieved in its footprint are estimated to be 26.2 (visible) and 24.5 (near-infrared); for spectroscopy, the H$_\alpha$ line flux limit is $2\times 10^{-16}$ erg cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$ at 1600 nm; and for diffuse emission the surface brightness limits are 29.8 (visible) and 28.4 (near-infrared) mag arcsec$^{-2}$.