WISExSuperCOSMOS Photometric Redshift Catalog: 20 Million Galaxies Over 3pi Steradians

Maciej Bilicki (Lead Author), John Peacock, T. Jarrett, M. E. Cluver, N. Maddox, M. Brown, E. Taylor, Nigel Hambly, Aleksandra Solarz, Benne W. Holwerda, Ivan K. Baldry, J. Loveday, Amanda Moffett, A. Hopkins, Simon P. Driver, Mehmet Alpaslan, Joss Bland-Hawthorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We cross-match the two currently largest all-sky photometric catalogs, mid-infrared WISE and SuperCOSMOS scans of UKST/POSS-II photographic plates, to obtain a new galaxy sample that covers 3pi steradians. In order to characterize and purify the extragalactic dataset, we use external GAMA and SDSS spectroscopic information to define quasar and star loci in multicolor space, aiding the removal of contamination from our extended-source catalog. After appropriate data cleaning we obtain a deep wide-angle galaxy sample that is approximately 95% pure and 90% complete at high Galactic latitudes. The catalog contains close to 20 million galaxies over almost 70% of the sky, outside the Zone of Avoidance and other confused regions, with a mean surface density of over 650 sources per square degree. Using multiwavelength information from two optical and two mid-IR photometric bands, we derive photometric redshifts for all the galaxies in the catalog, using the ANNz framework trained on the final GAMA-II spectroscopic data. Our sample has a median redshift of zmed = 0.2 but with a broad dN/dz reaching up to z > 0.4. The photometric redshifts have a mean bias of |zmed|~0.001, normalized scatter of sigma_z = 0.033 and less than 3% outliers beyond 3sigma_z. Comparison with external datasets shows no significant variation of photo-z quality with sky position. Together with the overall statistics, we also provide a more detailed analysis of photometric redshift accuracy as a function of magnitudes and colors. The final catalog is appropriate for 'all-sky' 3D cosmology to unprecedented depths, in particular through cross-correlations with other large-area surveys. It should also be useful for source pre-selection and identification in forthcoming surveys such as TAIPAN or WALLABY.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal Supplement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2016


  • catalogs - (cosmology:) large-scale structure of universe - galaxies: distances and redshifts - methods: data analysis - methods: statistical - surveys


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