Monday, November 20, 2017

Sloan Digital Sky Survey Will Map the Entire Sky

Article Written By: Kyle Tam


   The next generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) will be moving forward soon, focusing on mapping the entire night sky following a sizable $16 million grant from the Alred P. Sloan Foundation. This grand project will begin in 2020 and will include a significant contribution from scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
   "For more than 20 years, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has defined excellence in astronomy," says Paul L. Joskow, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "SDSS-V continues that august tradition by combining cutting-edge research, international collaboration, technological innovation, and cost-effective grassroots governance. The Sloan Foundation is proud to be a core supporter of SDSS-V."
   The SDSS-V will operate at both Apache Point Observatory, New Mexico and Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, like previous Sloan Digital Sky Surveys. There, the project will consist of three aspects, each section mapping different components of the universe. The Milky Way Mapper will focus on the formation of the Milky Way and its stars and planets. The Black Hole Mapper will focus on the formation, growth and ultimate size of the supermassive black holes located at the centre of galaxies. The Local Volume Mapper will aim at creating the first complete spectroscopic maps of some of the nearby galaxies in our universe.
    "These data will enable scientists to study the chemical composition of galaxies and the interactions between stars, gas, and supernova explosions in unprecedented detail," explained D. Michael Crenshaw, Chair of ARC’s Board of Governors and Georgia State University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.
    "By surveying the sky rapidly and repeatedly like no spectroscopic survey has done before, SDSS-V will not only vastly improve the data to answer known unknown questions, but it can—perhaps more importantly—venture into astrophysical terra incognita," said Hans-Walter Rix, the SDSS-V project scientist and director at the Max Planck Institute of Astronomy.
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