Uvudf: Ultraviolet Imaging Of The Hubble Ultra Deep Field With Wide-Field Camera 3
We present an overview of a 90 orbit Hubble Space Telescope treasury program to obtain near-ultraviolet imaging of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field using the Wide Field Camera 3 UVIS detector with the F225W, F275W, and F336W filters. This survey is designed to: (1) investigate the episode of peak star formation activity in galaxies at 1 < z < 2.5; (2) probe the evolution of massive galaxies by resolving sub-galactic units (clumps); (3) examine the escape fraction of ionizing radiation from galaxies at z similar to 2-3; (4) greatly improve the reliability of photometric redshift estimates; and (5) measure the star formation rate efficiency of neutral atomic-dominated hydrogen gas at z similar to 1-3. In this overview paper, we describe the survey details and data reduction challenges, including both the necessity of specialized calibrations and the effects of charge transfer inefficiency. We provide a stark demonstration of the effects of charge transfer inefficiency on resultant data products, which when uncorrected, result in uncertain photometry, elongation of morphology in the readout direction, and loss of faint sources far from the readout. We agree with the STScI recommendation that future UVIS observations that require very sensitive measurements use the instrument's capability to add background light through a "post-flash." Preliminary results on number counts of UV-selected galaxies and morphology of galaxies at z similar to 1 are presented. We find that the number density of UV dropouts at redshifts 1.7, 2.1, and 2.7 is largely consistent with the number predicted by published luminosity functions. We also confirm that the image mosaics have sufficient sensitivity and resolution to support the analysis of the evolution of star-forming clumps, reaching 28-29th magnitude depth at 5 sigma in a 0 ''.2 radius aperture depending on filter and observing epoch.