The FMOS-COSMOS survey of star-forming galaxies at z~1.6 III. Survey design, performance, and sample characteristics
We present a spectroscopic survey of galaxies in the COSMOS field using the Fiber Multi-Object Spectrograph (FMOS), a near-infrared instrument on the Subaru Telescope. Our survey is specifically designed to detect the Halpha emission line that falls within the H-band (1.6-1.8 micron) spectroscopic window from star-forming galaxies with M_stellar>10^10 Msolar and 1.4 < z < 1.7. With the high multiplex capabilities of FMOS, it is now feasible to construct samples of over one thousand galaxies having spectroscopic redshifts at epochs that were previously challenging. The high-resolution mode (R~2600) is implemented to effectively separate Halpha and [NII] emission lines thus enabling studies of gas-phase metallicity and photoionization conditions of the interstellar medium. The broad goals of our program are concerned with how star formation depends on stellar mass and environment, both recognized as drivers of galaxy evolution at lower redshifts. In addition to the main galaxy sample, our target selection places priority on those detected in the far-infrared by Herschel/PACS to assess the level of obscured star formation and investigate, in detail, outliers from the star formation rate – stellar mass relation. Galaxies with Halpha detections are followed up with FMOS observations at shorter wavelengths using the J-long (1.11-1.35 micron) grating to detect Hbeta and [OIII]5007 that provides an assessment of extinction required to measure star formation rates not hampered by dust and an indication of embedded Active Galactic Nuclei. With the first 1215 spectra that yield 401 redshifts, we assess the performance of the instrument with respect to achieving our goals, discuss inherent biases in the sample, and detail the emission-line properties. Our data are presented in the form of a catalog for use by the community.