The Ninth Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III

August 13, 2012

Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU)

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III), which several members of Kavli IPMU has been a part of, has released the largest-ever three-dimensional map of massive galaxies and distant black holes, which will help astronomers explain the mysterious "dark matter" and "dark energy" that scientists know makes up 96 percent of the Universe.

Data Release 9 is the latest in a series of data releases stretching back to 2001. This release includes new data from the ongoing SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), which will eventually measure the positions of 1.5 million massive galaxies over the past six billion years of cosmic time, as well as 160,000 quasars — giant black holes actively feeding on stars and gas — from as long ago as 12 billion years in the past.

Still Image from Movie:    300 DPI JPG
Download Movie:      1080p Quicktime Movie (.mov, 253 MB)

A video fly-through of the SDSS-III galaxies mapped in Data Release 9. Click on the image to play the video, or select one of the Download Movie options above to download.

Each galaxy in the animation is placed at the location mapped by SDSS and is represented by the zoomed-in template image that matches the actual shape of the galaxy.

Galaxies are concentrated into clusters and filaments with voids in between. The SDSS-III is exploring this structure to determine the nature of dark energy and the distribution of dark matter in the Universe.

Credit: Miguel A. Aragón (Johns Hopkins University), Mark SubbaRao (Adler Planetarium), Alex Szalay (Johns Hopkins University), Yushu Yao (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC), and the SDSS-III Collaboration


DR9 is available at: