Some Pretty Objects as observed by SDSS

Copyright Robert Lupton and the SDSS Consortium

Click on the thumbnails for full-resolution jpgs. Please do not copy without permission (which will be given). The picture credit should be:
     Robert Lupton and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Consortium
I can make these images available as TIFF files if your application wants the very highest quality, and suffers from the compression intrinsic to JPEGs.

The algorithm used to generate these images is very simple, and is described in this paper in PASP.

The official SDSS acknowledgements are given at the end of this page. I'd like to thank Steve Kent, whose `Art Shots' page inspired these images (and sometimes pointed me to especially beautiful objects).

All images are made from g-r-i. If we've scanned some area that you desperately want as a pretty picture, send me mail.

All the NGC galaxies in DR2 are illustrated here; some are also given personal attention on this page. Doug Finkbeiner has made some larger mosaics, which you can find here. Most of the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxy Survey (SINGS) galaxies that SDSS has imaged are here.

We imaged M31 on an early commissioning run with the HSC camera on Subaru; here are those images.
M51, the "Whirlpool" galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici, is about 30 million light years [10Mpc] away from our galaxy (binned 4x4). M51 at full resolution. M101
M109 (with an asinh:2 m:m+30000 stretch) M109 (with an sqrt(asinh:100) m:m+2000 stretch).
The dust lanes are a little better defined than the previous image.
The spiral galaxies NGC4656 and NGC4631 seen through a scattering of stars in the Milky Way. The blue colour of the galaxies indicates that the galaxies are actively forming stars.
M82 with an "asinh:Q10 -st m-4:100" stretch. M82, binned 4x4 with an "asinh:Q10 -st m-1:15" stretch. The sky level is varying fast in the bottom scan (run 4294) The galaxy NGC3077 in Ursa Major. Note the net of dark features crossing the face of the galaxy, caused by dust absorbing some of the starlight. The blueish colour of the galaxy's centre is a tell-tale signature of active star formation, as is the colour of the blue knots above and to the right of the galaxy. The coloured circles near the bright star at the bottom middle are artifacts caused by reflections within the SDSS camera. (Click here for a lower resolution image)
NGC2685. Note the dust lanes crossing the face of the galaxy. NGC2685, binned 2x2 to show low surface brightness features. The "Owl" planetary nebula
M2 (a globular cluster) M5 (another globular cluster; image needs work) M13 (yet another globular cluster; the star of my PhD thesis) (here's a TIFF version)
The halo globular cluster NGC2419. The central region of NGC2419. Note the blue horizontal branch stars, and the yellowish giants. A colour-magnitude diagram of the area surrounding NGC2419. The cluster horizontal branch and red (well, yellowish-red) giants are clearly visible.
NGC2535 NGC5218 Images of M63
The Draco dwarf galaxy, binned 4x4 The core of the Draco dwarf galaxy, binned 2x2 The core of the Draco dwarf galaxy
The core of the UMa dwarf spheroidal (6.8' x 5.9') The core of the UMa dwarf spheroidal with horizontal branch stars indicated by small boxes g-r v. g colour magnitude diagram for field around UMa dwarf
The local group dwarf galaxy DDO 70, also known as Sextans B. Core of DDO 70 galaxy (Sextans B) stretched to show outer parts. Core of DDO 70 galaxy (Sextans B) stretched to show clumps of stars.
Local group dwarf DDO 216 (the Pegasus dwarf galaxy) Core of DDO 216 (the Pegasus dwarf galaxy)
NGC660 (a polar-ring galaxy); detail. Polar ring galaxy NGC 4753, showing dust lanes Polar ring galaxy NGC 4753, showing low-surface brightness features
SDSS J093401.92+551427.9 (alias I Zw 18); a famous ultra metal-poor galaxy (cf. Kniazev et al.) SDSS J110553.76+602228.9 (alias SBS 1102+606); an ultra metal-poor galaxy (cf. Kniazev et al.) Field containing SDSS J110553.76+602228.9 (alias SBS 1102+606).
SDSS J020549.13-094918.1 (alias KUG 0203-100); an ultra metal-poor galaxy (cf. Kniazev et al.) SDSS J121546.56+522313.9 (alias CGCG 269-049); an ultra metal-poor galaxy (cf. Kniazev et al.) SDSS J121546.56+522313.9 (alias CGCG 269-049); an ultra metal-poor galaxy (cf. Kniazev et al.) (sqrt(asinh()) stretch)
Area around SDSS J121546.56+522313.9 (alias CGCG 269-049) Central region of the Perseus cluster of galaxies, including the prominent elliptical galaxy NGC 1275 which is a powerful radio source. A close inspection of NGC 1275 shows bluish and greenish features, due to glowing gas (probably Oxygen and Hydrogen). A larger part of Perseus (here's a TIFF version)
A strip containing the Perseus cluster of galaxies at the left side
The Coma cluster of galaxies The Hercules cluster of galaxies, which is well known for its large population of spirals (and here's Hercules; the movie). Abell 2199
Cluster of galaxies Abell 2255 Cluster of galaxies Abell 1689 Three superimposed clusters of galaxies, at redshisfts of 0.38, 0.43, and 0.50
The quasar 3C273 (note the bluish jet to the lower left of the object) The elliptical galaxy M87, showing a bluish jet in the core, and also an extensive population of globular clusters The central regions of M87
Comet C/2000 RX14 (according to Steve Kent)
A part of one of the Segue scans (4134-4, fields 247--249). Note the presence of dust. A part of one of the Segue scans (4135-6, fields 58--60). Note the (reddened) open cluster. A part of one of the Segue scans (4076-3, fields 173-175). This whole field is reddened -- that muddy reddish-orange isn't the colour of any star on the stellar locus.
Open cluster M67 (NGC2682) (3x3 median smoothed; note the white dwarf) Open cluster M67 (NGC2682) in the u.v. (3x3 median smoothed. ugr)

Schlegel and Finkbeiner Mosaics

Now for a number of SDSS mosaics created by David Schlegel and Douglas Finkbeiner; the three-colour composites are by RHL (you might also like some of the colour pictures that Doug made himself).

A region in Cygnus. The green is due to emission from ionized hydrogen (H-alpha); our eyes would see it as red. Another region in Cygnus. The green is due to emission from ionized hydrogen (H-alpha); our eyes would see it as red. Yet another region in Cygnus. The green is due to emission from ionized hydrogen (H-alpha); our eyes would see it as red.

Non SDSS Data

Now for some non-SDSS data; HST and Chandra also make beautiful pictures.
The Hubble Deep Field, imaged in f450, f606, and f814. As the caption to this image indicates, this is a NASA image, and they hold its copyright. The Hubble Deep Field. This image is based on the same data as the NASA version, but stretched according to Robert Lupton's doctrines. The Hubble Deep Field, blinking between the two previous representations as you move your mouse.
The Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UDF), coloured by the nethods of this page by David Hogg and friends. The full resolution image (as a gzipped-tiff) is here.
The Supernova Remnant Cas A, as imaged in X-rays using the ACIS camera on the Chandra satellite (Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO). The colours are red: 0.3-1.55 keV; green: 1.55-3.34keV; and blue 3.34-10.0 keV. Cas A as rendered by RHL, using the same bands as the preceeding image. The input images aren't quite the same as the preceeding picture; they are in fact raw data smoothed with a sigma=0.3pixel Gaussian. A plot of the hardness ratio of all pixels in the preceeding image, coloured the same way. In the axis labels, S==0.3-1.55 keV; M==1.55-3.34keV; and blue == 3.34-10.0 keV.


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The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC) for the Participating Institutions. The Participating Institutions are The University of Chicago,Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, The Johns Hopkins University, Los Alamos National Laboratory,the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), New Mexico State University, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory, and the University of Washington.