The JCMT Gould Belt Survey: SCUBA-2 Data Reduction Methods and Gaussian Source Recovery Analysis

Kirk, Helen, Hatchell, Jennifer, Johnstone, Doug, Berry, David, Jenness, Tim, Buckle, Jane, Mairs, Steve, Rosolowsky, Erik, Francesco, James Di et al (2018) The JCMT Gould Belt Survey: SCUBA-2 Data Reduction Methods and Gaussian Source Recovery Analysis. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 238 (1). ISSN 0067-0049

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The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) Gould Belt Survey (GBS) was one of the first legacy surveys with the JCMT in Hawaii, mapping 47 deg2 of nearby (<500 pc) molecular clouds in dust continuum emission at 850 and 450 μm, as well as a more limited area in lines of various CO isotopologues. While molecular clouds and the material that forms stars have structures on many size scales, their larger-scale structures are difficult to observe reliably in the submillimeter regime using ground-based facilities. In this paper, we quantify the extent to which three subsequent data reduction methods employed by the JCMT GBS accurately recover emission structures of various size scales, in particular, dense cores, which are the focus of many GBS science goals. With our current best data reduction procedure, we expect to recover 100% of structures with Gaussian σ sizes of ≤30'' and intensity peaks of at least five times the local noise for isolated peaks of emission. The measured sizes and peak fluxes of these compact structures are reliable (within 15% of the input values), but source recovery and reliability both decrease significantly for larger emission structures and fainter peaks. Additional factors such as source crowding have not been tested in our analysis. The most recent JCMT GBS data release includes pointing corrections, and we demonstrate that these tend to decrease the sizes and increase the peak intensities of compact sources in our data set, mostly at a low level (several percent), but occasionally with notable improvement.

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