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December 7, 2005

Sloan Digital Sky Survey's

The 2.5-meter Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) telescope, located at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico. The telescope is unusual because it has a remarkably wide-angle view, and because it was made specifically to create a map of the sky. The telescope's camera uses electronic sensors that turn light into a stream of digitized data. The telescope also uses two spectrographs--instruments that probe the composition and distance of celestial objects. Here you can see the fully assembled telescope. The boxy metal structure is the outer wind baffle, mounted separately from the rest of the telescope. It helps prevent the wind from shaking the telescope.

In March 2004, the SDSS released one of the largest astronomy catalogs ever compiled. The data, which included photometric and spectroscopic observations of the sky gathered over a two year period, was released as images and catalogs and included two terabytes in an easy to use searchable database. Digital images and measured properties of more than 88 million celestial objects are also included. SDSS is the largest undertaking ever attempted, and includes a consortium of more than 200 astronomers at 13 institutions worldwide.

Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, participating institutions, the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. (Year of Image: 2000)

Credit: Fermilab Photo

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