Project Description and Objectives

The Herschel Extragalactic Legacy Project (HELP) intends to produce a multi-wavelength, comprehensive data set of the galaxy population at high redshift.  The Herschel Space Observatory has the unique property of being able to probe the presence of star formation in extremely dusty galaxies through observations of the far infrared and submillimetre portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.  However, Herschel has relatively poor spatial resolution, making it difficult to disentangle which galaxies are responsible for what amount of flux.

HELP aims to robustly address this issue with the use of as many complimentary data sets as possible.  With the inclusion of data at shorter wavelengths (such as the optical, radio and near-infra-red), which have much higher spatial resolution, the deblending of Herschel flux into component parts can be undertaken in a much more robust, informed manner.   The ultimate goal of HELP is to produce a multi-wavelength data set, which will be easy to use so that astronomers not currently used to working with Herschel data or high redshift surveys could make use of the statistical samples found within the HELP catalogue.

Expected Project Outcomes

Once HELP is completed we will have created an easily queried database of sources in the high redshift sky, with data at multiple wavelengths, and consistent, easily interpreted meta-data.  This sort of large scale, value added data set has been previously produced by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which has resulted in hundreds of publications and provided an invaluable data set to the scientific community.  With HELP, we aim to produce a similar data set for multi-wavelength data in the high redshift universe, whereas the SDSS was limited to optical data in the low-redshift universe.  When completed, this data set will be publicly available, and will permit more scientists to study the high redshift Universe, adding to our understanding of the evolution of galaxies from early times and the way our Universe has changed over time.