science fields: the UKIDSS Ultra-Deep Survey, the Extended Chandra Deep Field South, COSMOS, the Hubble
Deep Field North, and the Extended Groth Strip. SEDS covers a total area of 1.46 deg2 to a depth of 26 AB mag
(3σ) in both of the warm Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) bands at 3.6 and 4.5μm. Because of its uniform depth of
coverage in so many widely-separated fields, SEDS is subject to roughly 25% smaller errors due to cosmic variance
than a single-field survey of the same size. SEDS was designed to detect and characterize galaxies from intermediate
to high redshifts (z = 2–7) with a built-in means of assessing the impact of cosmic variance on the individual fields.
Because the full SEDS depth was accumulated in at least three separate visits to each field, typically with six-month
intervals between visits, SEDS also furnishes an opportunity to assess the infrared variability of faint objects. This
paper describes the SEDS survey design, processing, and publicly-available data products. Deep IRAC counts for
the more than 300,000 galaxies detected by SEDS are consistent with models based on known galaxy populations.
Discrete IRAC sources contribute 5.6 ± 1.0 and 4.4 ± 0.8 nW m−2 sr−1 at 3.6 and 4.5μm to the diffuse cosmic
infrared background (CIB). IRAC sources cannot contribute more than half of the total CIB flux estimated from
DIRBE data. Barring an unexpected error in the DIRBE flux estimates, half the CIB flux must therefore come from
a diffuse component.
- galaxies: high redshift
- infrared: galaxies