skip to main content

Title: Second Data Release of the All-sky NOIRLab Source Catalog
Abstract We announce the second data release (DR2) of the NOIRLab Source Catalog (NSC), using 412,116 public images from CTIO-4 m+DECam, the KPNO-4 m+Mosaic3, and the Bok-2.3 m+90Prime. NSC DR2 contains over 3.9 billion unique objects, 68 billion individual source measurements, covers ≈35,000 square degrees of the sky, has depths of ≈23 mag in most broadband filters with ≈1%–2% photometric precision, and astrometric accuracy of ≈7 mas. Approximately 1.9 billion objects within ≈30,000 square degrees of sky have photometry in three or more bands. There are several improvements over NSC DR1. DR2 includes 156,662 (61%) more exposures extending over 2 more years than in DR1. The southern photometric zero-points in griz are more accurate by using the Skymapper DR1 and ATLAS-Ref2 catalogs, and improved extinction corrections were used for high-extinction regions. In addition, the astrometric accuracy is improved by taking advantage of Gaia DR2 proper motions when calibrating the astrometry of individual images. This improves the NSC proper motions to ∼2.5 mas yr −1 (precision) and ∼0.2 mas yr −1 (accuracy). The combination of sources into unique objects is performed using a DBSCAN algorithm and mean parameters per object (such as mean magnitudes, proper motion, etc.) are calculated more robustly more » with outlier rejection. Finally, eight multi-band photometric variability indices are calculated for each object and variable objects are flagged (23 million objects). NSC DR2 will be useful for exploring solar system objects, stellar streams, dwarf satellite galaxies, quasi-stellar objects, variable stars, high proper-motion stars, and transients. Several examples of these science use cases are presented. The NSC DR2 catalog is publicly available via the NOIRLab’s Astro Data Lab science platform. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astronomical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Despite extensive searches and the relative proximity of solar system objects (SSOs) to Earth, many remain undiscovered and there is still much to learn about their properties and interactions. This work is the first in a series dedicated to detecting and analyzing SSOs in the all-sky NOIRLab Source Catalog (NSC). We search the first data release of the NSC with CANFind, a Computationally Automated NSC tracklet Finder. NSC DR1 contains 34 billion measurements of 2.9 billion unique objects, which CANFind categorizes as belonging to “stationary” (distant stars, galaxies) or moving (SSOs) objects via an iterative clustering method. Detections of stationary bodies for proper-motion μ ≤ 2.″5 hr −1 (0.°017 day −1 ) are identified and analyzed separately. Remaining detections belonging to high- μ objects are clustered together over single nights to form “tracklets.” Each tracklet contains detections of an individual moving object, and is validated based on spatial linearity and motion through time. Proper motions are then calculated and used to connect tracklets and other unassociated measurements over multiple nights by predicting their locations at common times, forming “tracks.” This method extracted 527,055 tracklets from NSC DR1 in an area covering 29,971 square degrees of the sky. The datamore »show distinct groups of objects with similar observed μ in ecliptic coordinates, namely Main Belt Asteroids, Jupiter Trojans, and Kuiper Belt Objects. Apparent magnitudes range from 10 to 25 mag in the ugrizY and VR bands. Color–color diagrams show a bimodality of tracklets between primarily carbonaceous and siliceous groups, supporting prior studies.« less
  2. Abstract We present the discovery of 34 comoving systems containing an ultracool dwarf found by means of the NOIRLab Source Catalog (NSC) DR2. NSC’s angular resolution of ∼ 1″ allows for the detection of small separation binaries with significant proper motions. We used the catalog’s accurate proper motion measurements to identify the companions by cross-matching a previously compiled list of brown dwarf candidates with NSC DR2. The comoving pairs consist of either a very low-mass star and an ultracool companion, or a white dwarf and an ultracool companion. The estimated spectral types of the primaries are in the K and M dwarf regimes, those of the secondaries in the M, L, and T dwarf regimes. We calculated angular separations between ∼2″ and ∼ 56″, parallactic distances between ∼43 and ∼261 pc, and projected physical separations between ∼169 and ∼8487 au. The lowest measured total proper motion is 97 mas yr −1 , with the highest 314 mas yr −1 . Tangential velocities range from ∼23 to ∼187 km s −1 . We also determined comoving probabilities, estimated mass ratios, and calculated binding energies for each system. We found no indication of possible binarity for any component of the 34 systemsmore »in the published literature. The discovered systems can contribute to the further study of the formation and evolution of low-mass systems as well as to the characterization of cool substellar objects.« less
  3. Context. The ESA Gaia mission provides a unique time-domain survey for more than 1.6 billion sources with G ≲ 21 mag. Aims. We showcase stellar variability in the Galactic colour-absolute magnitude diagram (CaMD). We focus on pulsating, eruptive, and cataclysmic variables, as well as on stars that exhibit variability that is due to rotation and eclipses. Methods. We describe the locations of variable star classes, variable object fractions, and typical variability amplitudes throughout the CaMD and show how variability-related changes in colour and brightness induce “motions”. To do this, we use 22 months of calibrated photometric, spectro-photometric, and astrometric Gaia data of stars with a significant parallax. To ensure that a large variety of variable star classes populate the CaMD, we crossmatched Gaia sources with known variable stars. We also used the statistics and variability detection modules of the Gaia variability pipeline. Corrections for interstellar extinction are not implemented in this article. Results. Gaia enables the first investigation of Galactic variable star populations in the CaMD on a similar, if not larger, scale as was previously done in the Magellanic Clouds. Although the observed colours are not corrected for reddening, distinct regions are visible in which variable stars occur. Wemore »determine variable star fractions to within the current detection thresholds of Gaia . Finally, we report the most complete description of variability-induced motion within the CaMD to date. Conclusions. Gaia enables novel insights into variability phenomena for an unprecedented number of stars, which will benefit the understanding of stellar astrophysics. The CaMD of Galactic variable stars provides crucial information on physical origins of variability in a way that has previously only been accessible for Galactic star clusters or external galaxies. Future Gaia data releases will enable significant improvements over this preview by providing longer time series, more accurate astrometry, and additional data types (time series BP and RP spectra, RVS spectra, and radial velocities), all for much larger samples of stars.« less
  4. We present a chemo-dynamical study of the Orphan stellar stream using a catalog of RR Lyrae pulsating variable stars for which photometric, astrometric, and spectroscopic data are available. Employing low-resolution spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), we determined line-of-sight velocities for individual exposures and derived the systemic velocities of the RR Lyrae stars. In combination with the stars’ spectroscopic metallicities and Gaia EDR3 astrometry, we investigated the northern part of the Orphan stream. In our probabilistic approach, we found 20 single mode RR Lyrae variables likely associated with the Orphan stream based on their positions, proper motions, and distances. The acquired sample permitted us to expand our search to nonvariable stars in the SDSS dataset, utilizing line-of-sight velocities determined by the SDSS. We found 54 additional nonvariable stars linked to the Orphan stream. The metallicity distribution for the identified red giant branch stars and blue horizontal branch stars is, on average, −2.13 ± 0.05 dex and −1.87 ± 0.14 dex, with dispersions of 0.23 and 0.43 dex, respectively. The metallicity distribution of the RR Lyrae variables peaks at −1.80 ± 0.06 dex and a dispersion of 0.25 dex. Using the collected stellar sample, we investigated a possible link between the ultra-faint dwarf galaxy Grusmore »II and the Orphan stream. Based on their kinematics, we found that both the stream RR Lyrae and Grus II are on a prograde orbit with similar orbital properties, although the large uncertainties on the dynamical properties render an unambiguous claim of connection difficult. At the same time, the chemical analysis strongly weakens the connection between both. We argue that Grus II in combination with the Orphan stream would have to exhibit a strong inverse metallicity gradient, which to date has not been detected in any Local Group system.« less

    We introduce the southern stellar stream spectroscopy survey (S5), an on-going program to map the kinematics and chemistry of stellar streams in the southern hemisphere. The initial focus of S5 has been spectroscopic observations of recently identified streams within the footprint of the dark energy survey (DES), with the eventual goal of surveying streams across the entire southern sky. Stellar streams are composed of material that has been tidally striped from dwarf galaxies and globular clusters and hence are excellent dynamical probes of the gravitational potential of the Milky Way, as well as providing a detailed snapshot of its accretion history. Observing with the 3.9 m Anglo-Australian Telescope’s 2-degree-Field fibre positioner and AAOmega spectrograph, and combining the precise photometry of DES DR1 with the superb proper motions from Gaia DR2, allows us to conduct an efficient spectroscopic survey to map these stellar streams. So far S5 has mapped nine DES streams and three streams outside of DES; the former are the first spectroscopic observations of these recently discovered streams. In addition to the stream survey, we use spare fibres to undertake a Milky Way halo survey and a low-redshift galaxy survey. This paper presents an overview of the S5 program,more »describing the scientific motivation for the survey, target selection, observation strategy, data reduction, and survey validation. Finally, we describe early science results on stellar streams and Milky Way halo stars drawn from the survey. Updates on S5, including future public data releases, can be found at

    « less