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Session 64 - New Digital Surveys in the Optical and Near IR: Technical Challenges and Scientific Opportunities - II.
Topical, Oral session, Wednesday, June 10
Astronomy is about to undergo a major paradigm shift, with data sets becoming larger, and more homogeneous, for the first time designed in the top-down fashion. In a few years it may be much easier to "dial-up" a part of the sky, when we need a rapid observation than wait for several months to access a (sometimes quite small) telescope. With several projects in multiple wavelengths under way, like the SDSS, 2MASS, GSC-2, GALEX, POSS2, ROSAT, FIRST and DENIS projects, each surveying a large fraction of the sky, the concept of having a "Digital Sky", with multiple, TB size databases interoperating in a seamless fashion is no longer an outlandish idea. More and more catalogs will be added and linked to the existing ones, query engines will become more sophisticated, and astronomers will have to be just as familiar with mining data as with observing on telescopes.
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey, hereafter the SDSS, is a project to digitally map about 1/2 of the Northern sky in five filter bands from UV to the near IR, and is expected to detect over 200 million objects in this area. Simultaneously, redshifts will be measured for the brightest 1 million galaxies. The SDSS will revolutionize the field of astronomy, increasing the amount of information available to researchers by several orders of magnitude. The resultant archive that will be used for scientific research will be large (exceeding several Terabytes) and complex: textual information, derived parameters, multi-band images, and spectra. The catalog will allow astronomers to study the evolution of the universe in greater detail and is intended to serve as the standard reference for the next several decades.
Program listing for Wednesday