SDSS Plates as Art in Nashville, Tennessee

Check out these cool art pieces made from SDSS spectroscopic plates!  Nashville based artist, Adrienne Outlaw, designed and built them and they will be exhibited in various locations at Vanderbilt University over the next year. The pictures show their first installation, just in time for the Inclusive Astronomy meeting that started yesterday. The concept design was done by Adrienne Outlaw in collaboration with Vanderbilt astronomers David Weintraub and Billy Teets, and the project was funded by Vanderbilt University’s Curb Creative Campus program.

If you want to learn more about what these plates are, and see them in other art installations please see this previous post on SDSS plates.

We love seeing images of SDSS plates around the world. Please send any you find to us via social media (you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+), or email to outreach ‘at’



2 thoughts on “SDSS Plates as Art in Nashville, Tennessee

  1. Just a question: Nowhere have I found a description of the Sloan telescope’s operation when taking spectra using these fiber-optic plates. I **assume** that the telescope is steered to follow the particular field of view of interest for a significant amount of exposure time. But the only descriptions of the telescope I’ve read refer to drift scanning. So are there two modes of operation, i) drift-scanning and ii) tracking?

    And assuming there **is** tracking, since the telescope mount is alt-azimuth, how is compensation for field rotation during an exposure accomplished?

    If one of the SDSS people actually reads my question, I hope he’ll reply to my email address, since who knows when I might wander back to this page …

  2. Hi Paul,
    The SDSS telescope did drift scans for the imaging part of the survey (which ran from 2000-2008), but when we take spectroscopy we track and follow the source. The field rotation is monitored by tracking on guide stars. You can see a video of a night’s spectral observing on our YouTube channel:

    (I – and I’m not a “he” by the way – will also email this comment to you).

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