Radio-selected galaxies in very rich clusters at z <= 0.25. I. Multiwavelength observations and data reduction techniques
Radio observations were used to detect the "active" galaxy population within rich clusters of galaxies in a nonbiased manner that is not plagued by dust extinction or the K-correction. We present wide-field radio, optical (imaging and spectroscopy), and ROSAT All-Sky Survey (RASS) X-ray data for a sample of 30 very rich Abell (Rgreater than or equal to2) clusters with zless than or equal to0.25. The VLA radio data samples the ultrafaint radio (L(1.4)greater than or equal to2x10(22) W Hz(-1)) galaxy population within these extremely rich clusters for galaxies with M(R)less than or equal to-21. This is the largest sample of low-luminosity 20 cm radio galaxies within rich Abell clusters collected to date. The radio-selected galaxy sample represents the starburst (star formation rate greater than or equal to5 M-circle dot yr(-1)) and active galactic nuclei populations contained within each cluster. Archival and newly acquired redshifts were used to verify cluster membership for most (similar to95%) of the optical identifications. Thus, we can identify all the starbursting galaxies within these clusters, regardless of the level of dust obscuration that would affect these galaxies being identified from their optical signature. Cluster sample selection, observations, and data reduction techniques for all wavelengths are discussed.