The prism multi-object survey (PRIMUS). I. Survey overview and characteristics

Alison L. Coil, Michael R. Blanton, Scott M. Burles, Richard J. Cool, Daniel J. Eisenstein, John Moustakas, Kenneth C. Wong, Guangtun Zhu, James Aird, Rebecca A. Bernstein, Adam S. Bolton, David W. Hogg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We present the PRIsm MUlti-object Survey (PRIMUS), a spectroscopic faint galaxy redshift survey to z 1. PRIMUS uses a low-dispersion prism and slitmasks to observe 2500 objects at once in a 0.18deg2 field of view, using the Inamori Magellan Areal Camera and Spectrograph camera on the Magellan I Baade 6.5m telescope at Las Campanas Observatory. PRIMUS covers a total of 9.1deg2 of sky to a depth of i AB 23.5 in seven different deep, multi-wavelength fields that have coverage from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, Spitzer, and either XMM or Chandra, as well as multiple-band optical and near-IR coverage. PRIMUS includes 130,000 robust redshifts of unique objects with a redshift precision of σz/(1 + z) 0.005. The redshift distribution peaks at z 0.6 and extends to z = 1.2 for galaxies and z = 5 for broad-line active galactic nuclei. The motivation, observational techniques, fields, target selection, slitmask design, and observations are presented here, with a brief summary of the redshift precision; a forthcoming paper presents the data reduction, redshift fitting, redshift confidence, and survey completeness. PRIMUS is the largest faint galaxy survey undertaken to date. The high targeting fraction (80%) and large survey size will allow for precise measures of galaxy properties and large-scale structure to z 1.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number8
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2011


    • galaxies: distances and redshifts
    • galaxies: evolution
    • galaxies: high-redshift
    • large-scale structure of universe
    • surveys

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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