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Astron. Astrophys. 349, 236-242 (1999)

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1. Introduction

The main purposes of this paper are to announce the first public release of DENIS data, through the World-Wide Web server of the CDS, and to present the first steps in the validation process of these data, concerning their astrometric and photometric reliability.

The Deep Near-Infrared Survey of the Southern sky (DENIS) is a project to survey the southern sky in three wavelength bands (Gunn-i, 0.82 µm; J, 1.25 µm; and [FORMULA], [FORMULA]m) simultaneously, with limiting magnitudes 18.5, 16.5 and 14.0, respectively (for a detailed description, see Epchtein 1998).

The project is managed by a European consortium, led by N. Epchtein (Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur), involving fifteen institutes in eight different countries. The observations are performed with the ESO 1m telescope at La Silla (Chile). The survey is carried out by observing strips of [FORMULA] in declination and [FORMULA] in right ascension with an overlap of [FORMULA] between consecutive strips. The observations started at the end of 1995 and will be completed by the end of 2000.

The data are reduced in two consecutive steps: the first is performed as a joint effort of the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (IAP) and Observatoire de Paris; the second is performed at the Leiden Observatory. The position of a general extracted point source is provided with an accuracy better than [FORMULA] and its magnitude to better than 0.1 mag.

The Centre de Données Astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS) is implementing the final databases and provides access to a preliminary set of processed and calibrated data, through a WWW server.

The scientific exploitation of the already existing data is carried out by several working groups, allowing a continuous monitoring of the quality of the survey data.

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: August 25, 1999