Introduction to SkyServer
 
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Introduction

SkyServer is the catalog data access site for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. From this site, you can view all of the SDSS catalog data.

Data

You are currently viewing data from the SDSS Data Release 7 (link opens in a new window). Data Release 7 has data for 6 million stars, 8 million galaxies, and 4,500 quasars. You can view all their catalog data from this site. Catalog data includes IDs, positions, magnitudes, and many other measured quantities. The site also has preview images and spectra, and FITS images and spectra are available from the Explore tool (new window). All the data come from the SDSS data coverage areas (new window).

Tools

SkyServer includes a number of tools to view SDSS data. You can browse through the data with the Navigate tool, study a single object in detail with the Explore tool, and search for data with the Imaging Query Form or Spectroscopic Query Form tools, or with the SQL Search tool (all links open in the same new window).

Help

SkyServer has an extensive help section, covering all the ways to access the data. Good places to start are the Frequently Asked Questions and Cooking with Sloan, a series of guides showing you how to accomplish common astronomical tasks using SkyServer tools and SDSS data. The site also offers an SQL Tutorial to help search for objects using SQL.

If you see these symbols anywhere on the site: Flash symbol and PDF symbol, that means that there is a printable version of that page or guide available as a Flash or PDF file.

If you can't find your answer anywhere on the site, contact the SDSS Help Desk (link opens in a new window).

Projects

SkyServer is an excellent resource for educators, including K-12 and college classroom teachers. SDSS data can be a rich source of hands-on, inquiry-based activities for learning science.

The SkyServer Projects include many activities that teach a single science topic, such as the expanding universe or stellar spectra, using SDSS data. See the project teacher guides for more information on how to use SkyServer projects in your classroom or lab section.

We encourage instructors to create their own lesson plans using SkyServer, and to share them with us. We maintain a list of teacher-created SDSS activities on the site, and we would love to add yours!

We recognize the importance of community for successful teaching, and we try to create a sense of community online. We maintain a mailing list with updates on new activities, and a Yahoo group (link opens in a new window) to allow you to talk with your colleagues about SDSS-based activities.

If you have questions about SkyServer projects, please contact us!