Faint Standards for ZYJHK from the UKIDSS and VISTA Surveys

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The currently defined “UKIRT Faint Standards” have JHK magnitudes between 10 and 15, with Kmedian = 11.2. These stars will be too bright for the next generation of large telescopes. We have used multi-epoch observations taken as part of the UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) and the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) surveys to identify non-variable stars with JHK magnitudes in the range 16 – 19. The stars were selected from the UKIDSS Deep Extragalactic Survey (DXS) and Ultra Deep Survey (UDS), the WFCAM calibration data (WFCAMCAL08B), the VISTA Deep Extragalactic Observations (VIDEO) and UltraVISTA. Sources selected from the near-infrared databases were paired with the Pan-STARRS Data Release 2 of optical to near-infrared photometry and the Gaia astrometric Data Release 2. Colour indices and other measurements were used to exclude sources that did not appear to be simple single stars. From an initial selection of 169 sources, we present a final sample of 81 standard stars with ZYJHK magnitudes, or a subset, each with 20 to 600 observations in each filter. The new standards have Ksmedian = 17.5. The relative photometric uncertainty for the sample is <0.006 mag and the absolute uncertainty is estimated to be ≲ 0.02 mag. The sources are distributed equatorially and are accessible from both hemispheres.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2568-2595
Number of pages28
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Early online date3 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • astro-ph.IM
  • astro-ph.GA
  • astro-ph.SR


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