Education and Public Engagement

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is committed to working towards making the science and engineering results of our surveys accessible to the public. We are also enthusiastic about supporting the use of SDSS data for training and education. We aim to do this through informal and formal education, citizen science, news, and social media. A selection of our Education and Public Engagement activities are described below.

SDSS in Schools

SDSS Voyages is a custom resource for education focused explorers of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Specifically designed to meet the needs of educators, SDSS Voyages provides the pathways and supporting resources needed to enable student-led discovery of a variety of astronomical phenomena using the same data utilized by professional astronomers.Explore SDSS Voyages

Distributing an SDSS plate to a teacher in Hawaii Through our program "Your Piece of the Sloan Sky" we distribute used plug plates to educators at formal and informal educational institutions. Plates are distributed via SDSS Institutions and accompanied by a custom-made poster showing the patch of sky the plate was used to observe, a package of educational materials, and training on the use of SDSS Voyages.

If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact us, and we will help to link you to your nearest SDSS Institution.

SDSS in Undergraduate Education

SDSS REU Programme Logo The Astrophysical Research Consortium has initiated a pilot Research Experiences for Undergraduates program sponsored by the Sloan Foundation. The last application deadline was February 15, 2016. Women, minorities, disabled persons, and veterans are especially encouraged to apply.

SDSS FAST Programme Logo The SDSS Faculty and Student Team (FAST) program works with faculty and their students at US institutions with strong track records of serving underrepresented minority students.

Applications are now being considered for the 2019 FAST program cohort.

SDSS SkyServer hosts all the latest data from SDSS, freely available for all to use. Tools, guides and a variety of suggested projects are provided to help new users learn how to use the data.

Some of the Voyages Expeditions may also be suitable for use in Astronomy Labs.



Public Engagement with SDSS

Galaxy Zoo launched in 2007 to deal with the 1 million images in the SDSS Main Galaxy Sample. It's now the most productive citizen science project in existence, and this success spawned a "Zooniverse" of other citizen science projects across all areas of science. Join more than a million members of the Zooniverse to do real science online at the Zooniverse.

Additionally, the Zooteach website includes lesson plans and ideas to use Zooniverse projects (including Galaxy Zoo) in education. Explore the Zooniverse

In our Science Blog you’ll find short descriptions of our scientific research and the latest discoveries from the SDSS. We’d love to see your comments and questions about what you read there!

Explore the Blog

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    Scroll through the SDSS Skies with SkyServer Navigate.

    The SDSS Image Gallery

    Any SDSS image on the SDSS Web site may be downloaded, linked to, or otherwise used for non-commercial purposes, provided that you maintain the image credits (unless otherwise stated, images should be credited to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, or SDSS) and link back to our site at //

    SDSS Images may be used in commercial publications, or for other commercial purposes, only with the explicit approval of the Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC). Please visit our Image Use Policy for full details on how to obtain permission.

    A selection of SDSS related videos can be found on our SDSS Youtube Channel.

    The below video is a narrated flight through the Universe, which describes the scope of the many SDSS Surveys up to and including SDSS-IV. This video is illustrated with CGI rendering of real data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

    The SDSS has developed a strong collaboration with the arts community to engage nontraditional audiences with STEM/STEAM content. We are pleased to have recently named Scottish installation artist Tim Fitzpatrick as our first official artist in residence.

    Email us at We are always keen to hear about your educational use of SDSS data or resources.

    SDSS relies on the collaborative efforts of our member scientists and a number of external collaborations for public engagement and outreach and to develop educational content.

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    The SDSS EPO works/has worked with a number of collaborations and alliances, including: