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Getting redshift catalogs and all spectra and corresponding imaging data

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For your convenience, we publish a variant of the DR7 spectroscopic data set which has all regular survey spectra and corresponding object lists entries and atlas images (i.e., these files do not include spectra from the "extra" plates with repeat observations, nor the spectra from the special plates). It consists of the following set of file for each plate of 640 fibers:

  • spDiag-$mjd-$plate.par: the spectro1d summary
  • spSpec-$mjd-$plate-$fiber.fit: the catalog of spectral lines per spectrum
  • spPlate-$plate-$mjd.fits: the image of reduced spectra (1 spectrum per row)
  • plPlugMapM-$plate-$mjd-$mapping.par: the mapping of targets to fibers
  • spObj-$plate-$mjd-$rerun.fit: joined tsObj and spDiag and plPlugMap data for all fibers, hdu 1 = best, hdu 2 = target
  • spAtlas-$plate-$mjd-$fiber.fit: best and target atlas images for all 5 colors for all fibers

The data model for a spObj file is a combination of data taken from the tsObj, spDiag and plPlugMap files. A tsObj file contains all imaging information for all objects (bright and faint) in a particular 0.033 sq. deg. imaging field, while a spObj file contains all imaging information for all fibers on a particular spectroscopic plate, with an area of 7 sq. deg. spanning many imaging fields.

So far, only regular survey plates are included in those files, but not the extra and special plates that have been included starting with DR4. You can access these files, as well as catalogs of just the redshifts, in bulk at the following locations:

The full set of plates

  • one subdirectory per plate: http://das.sdss.org/spectro/ss_26
    An example of what is in these directories: plate 0666
  • one tar.gz file of ~95MB per plate: http://das.sdss.org/spectro/ss_tar_26
    We recommend to use these. Most easily retrieved using wget, for example using this command:
    wget -r -nH -np -l1 -A.tar.gz http://das.sdss.org/spectro/ss_tar_26/
    You must include the trailing slash in the wget command!
    or rsync, with this one:
    rsync -vtrLPR rsync://user@rsync.sdss.org/spectro/ss_tar_26/ ./
    The password is sdss. Also see our rsync help page.

Just the redshifts

There are separate catalogs by spectroscopic classification, the gzipped tarballs are subdivided in to subsets for DR1+DR2+DR3 (suffix -DR123.fit.gz) and the incremental sets for DR4, DR5, DR6, and DR7 (suffix -DRx.fit.gz).



Note that there is a vetted DR5 quasar catalog presented by Schneider et al. 2007. The information contained in that catalog supersedes the information contained in all other data sources. We strongly recommend cross-checking the list given here against the Schneider et al. catalog. Future data releases will incorporate the information from the vetted quasar catalogs.


Objects classified as stars in the main SDSS footprint (i.e. not including SEGUE or special plates)

Unknown and sky fibers

Objects whose type could not be identified, and sky fibers used to perform sky subtraction from the spectra:

What about objects not observed due to fiber collisions?

You will want the tiling information.