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  1. Abstract

    Deep optical and near-infrared imaging of the entire Galactic plane is essential for understanding our Galaxy’s stars, gas, and dust. The second data release of the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) Plane Survey extends the five-band optical and near-infrared survey of the southern Galactic plane to cover 6.5% of the sky, ∣b∣ ≤ 10°, and 6° >> −124°, complementary to coverage by Pan-STARRS1. Typical single-exposure effective depths, including crowding effects and other complications, are 23.5, 22.6, 22.1, 21.6, and 20.8 mag ing,r,i,z, andYbands, respectively, with around 1″ seeing. The survey comprises 3.32 billion objects built from 34 billion detections in 21,400 exposures, totaling 260 hr open shutter time on the DECam at Cerro Tololo. The data reduction pipeline features several improvements, including the addition of synthetic source injection tests to validate photometric solutions across the entire survey footprint. A convenient functional form for the detection bias in the faint limit was derived and leveraged to characterize the photometric pipeline performance. A new postprocessing technique was applied to every detection to debias and improve uncertainty estimates of the flux in the presence of structured backgrounds, specifically targeting nebulosity. The images and source catalogs are publicly available at

  2. Abstract We present WDJ220838.73+454434.04 (hereafter WD2208+454), a wide, co-moving white dwarf companion to the eclipsing binary system, AR Lacertae. The companion was discovered through the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 citizen science collaboration. It has a separation of 21.″9 on the sky from the central eclipsing pair, translating to a projected separation of ∼930 au. We present a review of the physical properties and orbital parameters of this new addition to the system.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 15, 2023
  3. Abstract We present medium-resolution ( λ /Δ λ  = 2700), near-infrared spectral standards for field L0–L2, L4, and L7–Y0 dwarfs obtained with the Near-Infrared Echellette Spectrometer on the Keck II 10 m telescope. These standards allow for detailed spectral comparative analysis of cold brown dwarfs discovered through ongoing ground-based projects such as Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, and forthcoming space-based spectral surveys such as the James Webb Space Telescope, SPHEREx, Euclid, and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2023
  4. Abstract

    We present the discovery of VVV J165507.19−421755.5, a mid-T dwarf found through ongoing unWISE-based proper motion searches. A near-infrared spectrum of this object obtained with the NIRES instrument on the Keck II telescope indicates a spectral classification of T5. Using data from the VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) catalog with a 9 year baseline, we measure a proper motion of (μαcos(δ),μδ) = (−631.0 ± 1.3, −315.0 ± 1.4) mas yr−1and a trigonometric parallax ofπabs = 66.0 ± 4.8 mas, corresponding to a distance of 15.2 ± 1.1 pc. The trigonometric parallax agrees well with our photometric distance estimate (16.13.9+5.1pc) assuming that VVV J165507.19−421755.5 is a single T5 dwarf. VVV J165507.19−421755.5 is a new member of the 20 parsec census.

  5. Abstract We present the discovery of CWISE J052306.42−015355.4, which was found as a faint, significant proper-motion object (0.″52 ± 0.″08 yr −1 ) using machine-learning tools on the unWISE re-processing of time series images from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. Using the CatWISE2020 W1 and W2 magnitudes along with a J -band detection from the VISTA Hemisphere Survey, the location of CWISE J052306.42−015355.4 on the W1 − W2 versus J − W2 diagram best matches that of other known, or suspected, extreme T subdwarfs. As there is currently very little knowledge concerning extreme T subdwarfs we estimate a rough distance of ≤68 pc, which results in a tangential velocity of ≤167 km s −1 , both of which are tentative. A measured parallax is greatly needed to test these values. We also estimate a metallicity of −1.5 < [M/H] < −0.5 using theoretical predictions.
  6. Abstract In an effort to identify nearby and unusual cold objects in the solar neighborhood, we searched for previously unidentified moving objects using CatWISE2020 proper motion data combined with machine learning methods. We paired the motion candidates with their counterparts in 2MASS, UHS, and VHS. Then we searched for white dwarf, brown dwarf, and subdwarf outliers on the resulting color–color diagrams. This resulted in the discovery of 16 new dwarfs, including 2 nearby M dwarfs (<30 pc), a possible young L dwarf, a high-motion early-T dwarf, and 3 later-T dwarfs. This research represents a step forward in completing the census of the Sun’s neighbors.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 7, 2023
  7. Abstract

    The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) is carrying out a five-year survey that aims to measure the redshifts of tens of millions of galaxies and quasars, including 8 million luminous red galaxies (LRGs) in the redshift range 0.4 <z≲ 1.0. Here we present the selection of the DESI LRG sample and assess its spectroscopic performance using data from Survey Validation (SV) and the first two months of the Main Survey. The DESI LRG sample, selected usingg,r,z, andW1 photometry from the DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys, is highly robust against imaging systematics. The sample has a target density of 605 deg−2and a comoving number density of 5 × 10−4h3Mpc−3in 0.4 <z< 0.8; this is a significantly higher density than previous LRG surveys (such as SDSS, BOSS, and eBOSS) while also extending toz∼ 1. After applying a bright star veto mask developed for the sample, 98.9% of the observed LRG targets yield confident redshifts (with a catastrophic failure rate of 0.2% in the confident redshifts), and only 0.5% of the LRG targets are stellar contamination. The LRG redshift efficiency varies with source brightness and effective exposure time, and we present a simple model that accurately characterizes this dependence. In the appendices, wemore »describe the extended LRG samples observed during SV.

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  8. Abstract While stars are often found in binary systems, brown dwarf binaries are much rarer. Brown dwarf–brown dwarf pairs are typically difficult to resolve because they often have very small separations. Using brown dwarfs discovered with data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) via the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 citizen science project, we inspected other, higher-resolution, sky surveys for overlooked cold companions. During this process, we discovered the brown dwarf binary system CWISE J0146−0508AB, which we find has a very small chance alignment probability based on the similar proper motions of the components of the system. Using follow-up near-infrared spectroscopy with Keck/NIRES, we determined component spectral types of L4 and L8 (blue), making CWISE J0146−0508AB one of only a few benchmark systems with a blue L dwarf. At an estimated distance of ∼40 pc, CWISE J0146−0508AB has a projected separation of ∼129 au, making it the widest-separation brown dwarf pair found to date. We find that such a wide separation for a brown dwarf binary may imply formation in a low-density star-forming region.
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  10. 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 robustlymore »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