Sky Surveys

black chinese test on brown paper with constellations drawn on
An ancient Chinese star chart, circa 940 A.D. Copyright 1997, The British Library Board British Library, Or.8210/S.3226

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is not the first effort to map the night sky. Ancient astronomers made maps of the night sky relying on nothing more than their own eyes, meticulously writing down their results.

Technology has improved considerably in the 20th century. Fifty years ago, the Palomar Observatory All Sky Survey (POSS) was completed. Today, in addition to the SDSS, many other all-sky maps are being made. Most of these maps look at the sky with different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum than the SDSS. Different wavelengths of light convey different information about celestial objects, and so give us a more complete understanding of them.

In this project, you will learn about some other sky surveys that are currently underway, and you will compare them to the SDSS. You will see how the data from the different surveys complement each other and give us a more complete understanding of the universe.