The Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey (CGS) is a long-term program to investigate the photometric and spectroscopic properties of a statistically complete sample of 605 bright (BT < 12.9mag), southern (δ < 0°) galaxies using the facilities at Las Campanas Observatory. This paper, the first in a series, outlines the scientific motivation of CGS, defines the sample, and describes the technical aspects of the optical broadband (BVRI) imaging component of the survey, including details of the observing program, data reduction procedures, and calibration strategy. The overall quality of the images is quite high, in terms of resolution (median seeing 1″), field of view (89 × 89), and depth (median limiting surface brightness 27.5, 26.9, 26.4, and 25.3mag arcsec-2 in the B, V, R, and I bands, respectively). We prepare a digital image atlas showing several different renditions of the data, including three-color composites, star-cleaned images, stacked images to enhance faint features, structure maps to highlight small-scale features, and color index maps suitable for studying the spatial variation of stellar content and dust. In anticipation of upcoming science analyses, we tabulate an extensive set of global properties for the galaxy sample. These include optical isophotal and photometric parameters derived from CGS itself, as well as published information on multiwavelength (ultraviolet, U-band, near-infrared, far-infrared) photometry, internal kinematics (central stellar velocity dispersions, disk rotational velocities), environment (distance to nearest neighbor, tidal parameter, group, or cluster membership), and H I content. The digital images and science-level data products will be made publicly accessible to the community.
- galaxies: fundamental parameters
- galaxies: general
- galaxies: photometry