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SDSS Spectroscopic Data

Data Release 10 includes an additional 684,000 galaxy and quasar spectra from the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey. DR10 includes updated Galaxy Products: a new estimate of stellar masses is available, and all galaxies from the original SDSS now have stellar mass and velocity dispersion estimates.

Data Release 10 also includes the first infrared spectroscopy data from the SDSS-III Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE). These data are described in the Infrared Spectroscopy section of the DR10 documentation.

The quickest way to view SDSS spectroscopic data is the SkyServer Quick Look tool. Quick Look shows an image and spectrum for all sky objects for which the SDSS has measured a "science primary" spectrum. The tool also shows the object's spectroscopic classification (star/galaxy/quasar) and redshift, and gives links to further data, including the spectrum as a FITS file.

The SDSS SkyServer quick look tool shows an image and spectrum of a galaxy, with links to further data
Quick Look view of the host galaxy of supernova 2011V (Hakobyan et al. in press). Click on the image to go to the Quick Look tool.

Catalog data

All spectroscopic catalog data is available through the search tools of SkyServer. The Spectroscopic Query Form lets you search for spectroscopic catalog objects by position, spectral classification, redshift, and other constraints in spectroscopy and imaging. SQL Search lets you create your own search; see the SkyServer SQL Tutorial to learn how to write SQL queries. An even more flexible and powerful interface is CasJobs, which allows you to save and analyze all your search results.

Spectra (FITS)

In addition to spectroscopic catalog data, SDSS also makes all its spectra available as FITS files through the Science Archive Server, which can return FITS spectra either individually or in bulk. To learn how to work with SDSS FITS spectra, see Understanding SDSS spectroscopic data.

More information about SDSS spectra

These pages describe how to use SDSS-III spectroscopic data. Use the links below (echoed on the left sidebar menu on each page) to learn more.

To learn how the SDSS chose objects for spectroscopic observation, see the SDSS Target Selection pages.