Date of Archiving2022
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Key wordsRadio astronomy; Radio continuum emission; Surveys
In this data release from the ongoing LOw-Frequency ARray (LOFAR) Two-metre Sky Survey (LoTSS) we present 120-168MHz images covering 27% of the northern sky. Our coverage is split into two regions centred at approximately 12h45m +44°30' and 1h00m +28°00' and spanning 4178 and 1457 square degrees respectively. The images were derived from 3,451 hrs (7.6 PB) of LOFAR High Band Antenna data which were corrected for the direction-independent instrumental properties as well as direction-dependent ionospheric distortions during extensive, but fully automated, data processing. A catalogue of 4396228 radio sources is derived from our total intensity (Stokes I) maps, where the majority of these have never been detected at radio wavelengths before. At 6"resolution, our full bandwidth Stokes I continuum maps with a central frequency of 144MHz have: a median rms sensitivity of 83mJy/beam; a flux density scale accuracy of approximately 10%; an astrometric accuracy of 0.2"; and we estimate the point-source completeness to be 90% at a peak brightness of 0.8mJy/beam. By creating three 16MHz bandwidth images across the band we are able to measure the in-band spectral index of many sources, albeit with an error on the derived spectral index of >±0.2 which is a consequence of our flux-density scale accuracy and small fractional bandwidth. Our circular polarisation (Stokes V) 20" resolution 120-168 MHz continuum images have a median rms sensitivity of 95uJy/beam, and we estimate a Stokes I to Stokes V leakage of 0.056%. Our linear polarisation (Stokes Q and Stokes U) image cubes consist of 480x97.6kHz wide planes and have a median rms sensitivity per plane of 10.8mJy/beam at 4' and 2.2mJy/beam at 20"; we estimate the Stokes I to Stokes Q/U leakage to be approximately 0.2%. Here we characterise and publicly release our Stokes I, Q, U and V images in addition to the calibrated uv-data to facilitate the thorough scientific exploitation of this unique dataset.
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