AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 92 Astronomy Education: Collaborations and Research
Oral, Tuesday, 10:00-11:30am, January 10, 2006, Balcony B

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[92.01] Searching the Sloan Digital Sky Survey the Quick and Easy Way

M. J. Raddick, A. S. Szalay (Johns Hopkins University)

For more than four years, the SkyServer web site (http://skyserver.sdss.org) has made the complete database of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey available to the public, with lesson plans for teachers from elementary school through college. One of the most powerful features of the site is the ability to search the database, returning thousands or millions of matches for a variety of questions. For example, a search for galaxies with green-wavelength (g) magnitudes brighter than 18 and g-r colors less than 2 returns 498,874 galaxies.

However, to search the SDSS in this way, users have always needed to know SQL (Structured Query Language), a programming language used to search databases throughout the academic and business world. Learning SQL is difficult, and many teachers have found that learning the language takes more time than they are able to devote.

We have created SkyServer tools to make searching the SDSS database much easier. These new tools will allow users to select options from a series of menus, building up a SQL query step-by-step in an intuitive way. For example, the galaxy query described above could be built by selecting “galaxies,” then “g < 18,” then “g-r < 2.” Our philosophy has been that these tools should allow users to jump right in to searching the database, but they should also teach SQL, allowing users to write more sophisticated searches on their own relatively quickly. In this talk, we will demonstrate some of these new tools.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://skyserver.sdss.org. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: raddick@pha.jhu.edu

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