SDSS: Science in the Library

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SDSS: Science in the Library

Post by bystander » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:46 pm

Science in the Library
Sloan Digital Sky Survey | 2019 Jan 08
In this imaginative visualization of MaStar, a user of the Stellar
Library selects a spectrum corresponding to a certain type of star.
(Credit: Dana Berry/SkyWorks Digital Inc.; SDSS Collaboration)

Want to learn everything there is to know about a subject? Go to the library. Want to learn everything there is to know about stars? Go to the stellar library.

Today, astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) announced the opening of a new “stellar library” containing spectra of thousands of stars in our Milky Way galaxy. Having access to this library will help astronomers understand not only our own Galaxy, but galaxies across the universe.

The announcement came at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Seattle, WA. The new library is known as the “MaNGA Stellar Library,” named after the SDSS’s Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA) survey, which it was designed to support. MaNGA’s goal is to understand the detailed internal structure of galaxies -- but of course galaxies are made of stars, so understanding a galaxy requires understanding the stars that compose it. For decades, astronomers have been trying to figure out what unique mix of stars best explains the light that we see from every distant galaxy. ...

Those accurate spectra come from the MaNGA spectrograph. The MaNGA survey spends most of its time observing galaxies, but over the last three years, it has also measured spectra for more than 3,000 stars of all colors and sizes. These spectra have been collected into the MaNGA Stellar Library, or MaStar for short.

The MaNGA stellar library began out of necessity. At the beginning of the fourth phase of the SDSS in 2013, the MaNGA team realized that there was no suitable library of stellar spectra covering the wavelength range that MaNGA would use. Rather than be stymied by the lack of such a library, the team realized they had an opportunity to create just such a library by working with the other survey programs that make up the SDSS. ...

Scientists Orchestrate a Symphony of the Stars
University of Portsmouth | 2019 Jan 08
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