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On-sky characterisation of the VISTA NB118 narrow-band filters at 1.19 μ m

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  • Bo Milvang-Jensen
  • Wolfram Freudling
  • Johannes Zabl
  • Johan P. U. Fynbo
  • Palle Møller
  • Kim K. Nilsson
  • Henry Joy McCracken
  • Jens Hjorth
  • Olivier Le Fèvre
  • Lidia Tasca
  • James S. Dunlop
  • David Sobral
Article numberA94
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Astronomy and Astrophysics
Number of pages27
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date11/12/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Observations of the high redshift Universe through narrow-band filters have proven very successful in the last decade. The 4-m VISTA telescope, equipped with the wide-field camera VIRCAM, offers a major step forward in wide-field near-infrared imaging, and in order to utilise VISTA's large field-of-view and sensitivity, the Dark Cosmology Centre provided a set of 16 narrow-band filters for VIRCAM. These NB118 filters are centered at a wavelength near 1.19 μm in a region with few airglow emission lines. The filters allow the detection of Hα emitters at z = 0.8, Hβ and [O iii] emitters at z ≈ 1.4, [O ii] emitters at z = 2.2, and Lyα emitters at z = 8.8. Based on guaranteed time observations of the COSMOS field we here present a detailed description and characterization of the filters and their performance. In particular we provide sky-brightness levels and depths for each of the 16 detector/filter sets and find that some of the filters show signs of some red-leak. We identify a sample of 2 × 103 candidate emission-line objects in the data. Cross-correlating this sample with a large set of galaxies with known spectroscopic redshifts we determine the "in situ" passbands of the filters and find that they are shifted by about 3.5 - 4 nm (corresponding to 30% of the filter width) to the red compared to the expectation based on the laboratory measurements. Finally, we present an algorithm to mask out persistence in VIRCAM data. Scientific results extracted from the data will be presented separately.