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SWIRE Survey

SWIRE is a wide-area, high galactic latitude, imaging survey to trace the evolution of dusty, star-forming galaxies, evolved stellar populations, and active galactic nuclei as a function of environment from redshifts, z ~ 3, when the Universe was about 2 billion years old, to the present time. The primary data for the survey are infrared images acquired by the Spitzer Space Telescope. SWIRE surveyed approximately 49 square degrees with the MIPS far-infrared camera and IRAC mid-infrared camera.

Key Scientific Goals

The key scientific goals of SWIRE are to determine:

  • The evolution of both actively star-forming and passively-evolving galaxies to determine the history of galaxy formation (including the global Star Formation History - SFH), in the context of cosmic structure formation and galaxy environment.
  • The spatial distribution and clustering of evolved galaxies, starbursts, and AGN, and the evolution of their clustering in the key redshift range from 0.5 < z < 3 over which much of cosmic evolution has occurred.
  • The evolutionary relationship between galaxies and AGN, and the contribution of AGN accretion energy to the cosmic backgrounds, relative to that from nucleosynthesis.

Measurement Sensitivities

SWIRE Sensitivity Limits*
Channel Image Sensitivity DR2 Catalog 95% Completeness
3.6 µm 3.7 µJy 14 µJy
4.5 µm 5.4 µJy 15 µJy
5.8 µm 48 µJy 42 µJy
8.0 µm 37.8 µJy 56 µJy
Channel Image Sensitivity DR2 Catalog Limits
24 µm 230 µJy 280 µJy (90% completeness)
70 µm 18 mJy 15.5 mJy (flux limits)
160 µm 150 mJy 90 mJy (flux limits)
* estimated 5

Supporting Ground-Based Observations

The satellite data will be complemented by an extensive program of ground-based optical, near-infrared and radio observations, providing identifications, photometric-redshifts, spectral energy distributions and other physical information.

Data Availability

The second release of processed images and star & galaxy catalogs is now available. More....

Additional Information

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by Dr. Carol Lonsdale and Dr. Russ Laher