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The Universe as mapped by SDSS and WMAP

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is a huge and important project to map, in a quarter of the sky, as much of universe as is visible from earth. The SDSS releases data periodically, and will hopefully be complete in a few more years.

    Download: (for Windows and Linux) sdss4wmap_mac.tar.gz (for Macs) : 440 000 galaxies (375 000 main sequence, 65 000 large red galaxies) and 70 000 quasars from SDSS Data Release 4, plus the cosmic microwave background as measured by the NASA/WMAP science team. Size: 55 Mb. You can find the movie made with this on the Cosmus movie page or on Google Video. Made in October 2005.

    [Caution: not many machines can handle this data set, so try the DR3 version - below - first.]

    Download: 300 000 galaxies and 49 000 quasars from SDSS Release 3, plus the cosmic microwave background. Includes Milky Way and Local Group. Size: 48 Mb. (Note: updated 2 Nov 05 with some galaxy texture corrections).

Mark Subbarao, Dinoj Surendran, and Randy Landsberg have made a 3d model of the galaxies and quasars found by the SDSS. Currently there are 250 000 galaxies and 40 000 quasars. Also included is the cosmic microwave background as mapped by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe.

This model is interactive, which means you can fly around in it whereever you want, seeing both galaxies close up and the large scale structure of the universe.

Uses made of this visual so far:

  • Installed on the Linux-based GeoWall at SciTech Hands-on Museum in Aurora, IL.
  • Included on EVL's GeoWall demo DVD
  • Interactive shows at the Adler 3d Theater
  • A snapshot from it was used for the 2004 Data Analysis in Cosmology summer school.
  • For movies used by various researchers at conferences, e.g. Josh Frieman at the February 2004 AAAS meeting, July 2004 at Aspen, Oct 2004 at GLPA, May 2005 at the KICP Viz Workshop
  • For making the SDSS movie [Google Video link]
  • For making a video submitted to the 2006 AAS Special Session on Astronomy Visualization
  • For making a flythrough sequence for some folks at NASA/Goddard (more details to follow)

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