Once target selection has been completed, the spectroscopic plates need to be positioned and fibers assigned to targets. As noted above, although each plate can accommodate 640 fibers, about 50 of these are reserved for calibration targets, leaving around 590 fibers for science targets; for plates 266-315 the available number was 588 and for later plates the number was 592. As described in this section and in Table 27, a number of object types are potential spectroscopic science targets. However, only for some of these do we attempt to obtain a uniform and complete sample, the so-called ``tiled targets,'' as indicated in Table 27. Other science targets, such as most types of stars, ROSAT sources, serendipity targets, etc., are assigned leftover fibers according to a set of priorities after the plates are positioned and fibers are assigned to tiled targets.
To position the plates, we could simply place them on a uniform grid, but given the clustering of the galaxy targets which dominate the sample, this procedure would give some plates substantially more targets than available fibers, while others would have large numbers of extra fibers. To make best use of observing time, an algorithm based on cost-minimization blanton01b determines the optimal positioning of plate centers in order to maximize the number of tiled targets on which a fiber can be placed. This spaces plates more closely together in regions with a larger density of galaxies, increasing the completeness and efficiency of the spectroscopic survey. This process of optimally placing spectroscopic plates is referred to as tiling.
Due to the finite diameter of the fibers and their cladding, fibers cannot be placed more closely than 55 arcsec from one another. For each group of targets within 55'', we put fibers on the largest possible set of the highest priority objects; in case there is a tie, we decide on the competing configurations based on the next highest priority objects, and so on. Brown dwarf and hot standard star targets have priority over quasar targets, which have priority over luminous red galaxies and main sample galaxies. The priorities of each object are stored in a parameter priority; a higher value means higher priority. This procedure means that if two objects of the same priority are within 55'', one is rejected at random. Roughly 8-9% of targeted objects are not targeted for this reason, in regions covered by a single plate. In regions of plate overlap, of course, both objects in such a close pair can be targeted; about 30% of the sky is covered by such overlaps. Finally, there is another constraint, which is that no fiber can be placed within 100'' of the center of a plate; this excludes a very small number of targets.
Due to an error in an early version of the tiling pipeline, for the earliest plates (266-315) three gaps were left in the assignment of fibers to tiled targets. Because of the nature of the bug, these occurred in regions where plates overlapped; also, they unfortunately tended to occur in the densest regions. They occurred in the overlaps between plates 270 and 271, plates 312 and 313, and plates 314 and 315.
The bookkeeping of the tiling results has not been provided in this data release, including whether a fiber was eliminated due to a collision and whether it was originally targeted in the ``drilling'' version of the data reductions. Future data releases will include this information. However, it is possible to evaluate the completeness from the data itself by calculating the fraction of each target type (as determined in the released version of the reductions) which have spectra; simply be careful to include the effect of fiber collisions. We have determined that for South Equatorial Stripe and the SIRTF First Look Field, the effective flux limit for the main galaxy sample is about ; for the North Equatorial Stripe, the effective flux limit is about . Finally, because there may be incompleteness in regions covered by one observed plate and one unobserved plate, it is important to know the locations of the unobserved plates when evaluating the window function of the survey. Thus, we include in Table 4 the locations of plates not released here.
As discussed above in § 4.8.6, we found that target selection did poorly in a few regions of sky of particularly bad seeing, especially with earlier versions of the imaging pipelines. The symptom was typically an excessive number of quasar candidates due to poor photometry. We were forced in a few regions therefore to cull the spectroscopic targets.