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Largest Sky Map Revealed: An Animated Flight Through the Universe

Largest Sky Map Revealed: An Animated Flight Through the Universe. The first public data release from BOSS, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey. Led by Berkeley Lab scientists, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s BOSS is bigger than all other spectroscopic surveys combined for measuring the universe’s large-scale structure.


The Third Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III) has issued Data Release 9 (DR9), the first public release of data from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). In this release BOSS, the largest of SDSS-III’s four surveys, provides spectra for 535,995 newly observed galaxies, 102,100 quasars, and 116,474 stars, plus new information about objects in previous Sloan surveys (SDSS-I and II).


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This animated flight through the universe was made by Miguel Aragon of Johns Hopkins University with Mark Subbarao of the Adler Planetarium and Alex Szalay of Johns Hopkins.

There are close to 400,000 galaxies in the animation, with images of the actual galaxies in these positions (or in some cases their near cousins in type) derived from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7. Vast as this slice of the universe seems, its most distant reach is to redshift 0.1, corresponding to roughly 1.3 billion light years from Earth.

SDSS Data Release 9 from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), led by Berkeley Lab scientists, includes spectroscopic data for well over half a million galaxies at redshifts up to 0.8 — roughly 7 billion light years distant – and over a hundred thousand quasars to redshift 3.0 and beyond.