NOAO Fundamental Plane Survey. I. Survey Design, Redshifts, and Velocity Dispersion Data
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We introduce the NOAO Fundamental Plane Survey (NFPS), a wide-field imaging/spectroscopic study of rich, low-redshift galaxy clusters. The survey targets X-ray-selected clusters at 0.010 < z < 0.067, distributed over the whole sky, with imaging and spectroscopic observations obtained for 93 clusters. This data set will be used in investigations of galaxy properties in the cluster environment and of large-scale velocity fields through the fundamental plane. In this paper, we present details of the cluster sample construction and the strategies employed to select early-type galaxy samples for spectroscopy. Details of the spectroscopic observations are reported. From observations of 5479 red galaxies, we present redshift measurements for 5388 objects and internal velocity dispersions for 4131. The velocity dispersions have a median estimated error 7%. The NFPS has 15% overlap with previously published velocity dispersion data sets. Comparisons to these external catalogs are presented and indicate typical external errors of 8%.