SkyServer Research Challenges

In these research challenges, you will answer questions that really matter to astronomers. You figure out how to answer the question, collect data with SkyServer tools, interpret the data, and understand the universe.

These research challenges can be used for:

STUDENTS: projects for Science Fairs or other science competitions

TEACHERS: guided inquiry or independent research activities

AMATEUR ASTRONOMERS: database research to complement your observations

Choose a research challenge below!

Galaxy Color: Compare stars in the Milky Way disk to stars far from the disk. What similarities and differences do you see? What does that tell you about the structure of our galaxy?

Small Galaxies: Some galaxies are spirals, and some are ellipticals. Sometimes, it’s easy to tell which is which. But when a galaxy is very small, you can’t recognize its shape. Can you still tell whether it is spiral or elliptical based on observations of the galaxy?

Quasar Spectra: Quasars are some of the most distant and mysterious objects in the universe. What can their spectra tell us about what they are?

Map the Universe: From our point of view on Earth, we can see millions of galaxies, all over the sky, at many different distances. Where are all the galaxies, and what can they tell us about the Universe we live in?

HII Regions: Find HII regions, the areas of glowing gas in other galaxies where stars are born. As you find them, you’ll help the SDSS improve its photo processing software, which mistakes these regions for separate galaxies.