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The first light on a next generation astronomical survey towards a new understanding of the universe



The first light on next-generation astronomical survey is directed towards a new understanding of the universe

The fifth generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey made the first observations earlier this month. This image shows a data sample from that first SDSS-V data. An image of the central sky is a single SDSS-V field of view. The purple circle indicates the telescope’s field of view in the sky, with the Full Moon shown as a size comparison. SDSS-V simultaneously observed 500 targets at a time in a circle of this size. The left panel displays the optical light spectrum of a quasar – a supermassive black hole in the center of a distant galaxy, surrounded by a disc of hot, glowing gas. The purple dot is the SDSS image of the light from this disk, in this data set spanning about 1 arc of a second in the sky, or the width of a human hair when visible from a distance of 21 meters (63 feet). The right panel displays the image and spectrum of a white dwarf – the left core of a low-mass star (like the Sun) after the end of its life cycle. Image Providers: Hector Ibarra Medel, Jon Trump, Yue Shen, Gail Zasowski and SDSS-V Collaboration. Central background image: unWISE / NASA / JPL-Caltech / D. Lang (Perimeter Institute).

The fifth generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey collected the first observations of the universe at 1:47 am on October 24, 2020. This groundbreaking full-sky survey will reinforce the incident. our understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies – including our own Milky Way – and the supermassive black holes lurking at their centers.


The newly launched SDSS-V will continue the tradition of disrupting the path set by previous generations of the survey, focusing on the ever-changing night sky and the physical processes driving these changes, from the flickering and bursts of supermassive black holes to the reciprocating displacement of stars orbiting distant worlds. SDSS-V will provide the spectral backbone needed to reach the full scientific potential of satellites such as NASA’s TESS, ESA’s Gaia and the latest all-sky X-ray mission, eROSITA.

“In a year where humanity is globally challenged, I am so proud of the SDSS team around the world that has shown – every day – its best in creativity, ingenuity, improvisation and It is a challenging period for people but I’m happy to say that the pandemic may have slowed us down, but it hasn’t stopped us, “said SDSS-V Director. Juna Kollmeier said.

As an international corporation, SDSS has always relied heavily on telephones and digital communications. But adapting proprietary virtual communication tactics is a challenge, as is global supply chain tracking and lab availability at various university partners while they move in and Get out of the lock in the final period until survey starts. Particularly inspiring are the project’s expert observers, who work in an even greater than usual isolation state to close the door, and then reopen, operate at the observatory. on the mountain top of the survey.

Funded primarily by member organizations, along with grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the US National Science Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation, SDSS-V will focus on three areas of investigation. Each field explores different aspects of the universe using different spectroscopy tools. These three pillars of the project come together – known as the “Mapper” – that will observe more than six million objects in the sky and track the changes of more than a million objects over time.

The survey’s local mass map will enhance our understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies by probing the interactions between the stars that make up the galaxy and gas and dust between the stars. stars are scattered between them. The Milky Way Mapper will reveal the physics of the stars in our Milky Way, the diverse architectures of its planetary and star systems as well as the chemical enrichment of our galaxy. since the very beginning of the universe. The Black Hole Mapper will measure the mass and cosmic evolution of supermassive black holes within galaxies as well as smaller black holes that are left behind when stars die.

SDSS-V spokesperson Gail Zasowski of the University of Utah added: “We are delighted to start getting the first data for two of our three Mappers. “These early observations were critical for a wide range of scientific goals. Even these early targets included targets from mapping the inner region of supermassive black holes and finding search for bizarre multi-black hole systems, go study nearby stars and their dead cores, go follow the chemical traces of potential planet-storage stars in the Milky Way. “

“SDSS-V will continue to transform astronomy by building on the 20-year legacy of groundbreaking science, unraveling the most fundamental questions about the origin and nature of the universe. It demonstrates all the outstanding features that make SDSS Evan Michelson, program director at the Sloan Foundation, said: past success: open data sharing, including diverse and integrated scientists cooperation between many organizations “. “We’re thrilled to be supporting Juna Kollmeier and the entire SDSS team, and we’re excited for this next phase of discovery.”

The SDSS-V will operate out of both the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, which houses the survey’s original 2.5-meter telescope and Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, where it uses the telescope. du Pont 2.5 meters.

The director of the observatory Leopoldo Infante said: “SDSS V is one of the most important astronomical projects of the decade. It will set new standards not only in astrophysics but also robotics and data. big”. “Hence, to ensure its success, the Las Campanas Observatory has prepared to carry out the project with all the human and technical resources available on the mountain.”

The first observations of the SDSS-V were collected in New Mexico with existing SDSS tools, as a necessary change to the plan due to the pandemic. As laboratories and seminars around the world navigate the door back to safety, the new innovative SDSS-V hardware suite is on the horizon —- in particular, robotic systems aimed at the purpose of using fiber optic cables to collect light from the night sky. They will be installed at both observatories next year. New spectroscopes and telescopes are also being built to allow local Mass Maps observations.

“Carnegie has allowed SDSS to expand into the Southern Hemisphere. I am delighted to see our role in this platform effort expand with the next generation,” concluded Carnegie Observatories director John Mulchaey. Comment.


The next generation astronomical survey made the first observations toward a new understanding of the universe


Provided by Carnegie Institute of Science

Quote: The first light on the next generation astronomical survey towards a new understanding of the universe (2020, November 2) retrieved November 3, 2020 from https://phys.org / news / 2020-11-next-gen-astronomical-survey- cosmos-1.html

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