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The VLT Survey Telescope ATLAS

Shanks, T.; Metcalfe, N.; Chehade, B.; Findlay, J.R.; Irwin, M.J.; Gonzalez-Solares, E.; Lewis, J.R.; Yoldas, A.K.; Mann, R.G.; Read, M.A.; Sutorius, E.T.W.; Voutsinas, S.

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T. Shanks

B. Chehade

J.R. Findlay

M.J. Irwin

E. Gonzalez-Solares

J.R. Lewis

A.K. Yoldas

R.G. Mann

M.A. Read

E.T.W. Sutorius

S. Voutsinas


The VLT Survey Telescope ATLAS survey is an optical ugriz survey aiming to cover ≈4700 deg2 of the southern sky to similar depths as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). From reduced images and object catalogues provided by the Cambridge Astronomical Surveys Unit, we first find that the median seeing ranges from 0.8 arcsec FWHM (full width at half-maximum) in i to 1.0 arcsec in u, significantly better than the 1.2–1.5 arcsec seeing for SDSS. The 5σ mag limit for stellar sources is rAB = 22.7 and in all bands these limits are at least as faint as SDSS. SDSS and ATLAS are more equivalent for galaxy photometry except in the z band where ATLAS has significantly higher throughput. We have improved the original ESO magnitude zero-points by comparing m < 16 star magnitudes with the AAVSO Photometric All-Sky Survey in gri, also extrapolating into u and z, resulting in zero-points accurate to ≈ ± 0.02 mag. We finally compare star and galaxy number counts in a 250 deg2 area with SDSS and other count data and find good agreement. ATLAS data products can be retrieved from the ESO Science Archive, while support for survey science analyses is provided by the OmegaCAM Science Archive, operated by the Wide-Field Astronomy Unit in Edinburgh.


Shanks, T., Metcalfe, N., Chehade, B., Findlay, J., Irwin, M., Gonzalez-Solares, E., …Voutsinas, S. (2015). The VLT Survey Telescope ATLAS. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 451(4), 4238-4252.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 15, 2015
Online Publication Date Jun 30, 2015
Publication Date Aug 1, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 8, 2016
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 451
Issue 4
Pages 4238-4252


Published Journal Article (15.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2015 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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