Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Most Complete 3D Map of the Local Universe

I've been at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Boston this week, and there's been a lot going on here, including a great session on the Science from Galaxy Zoo, which I plan to write about soon, but I wanted today to mention the release of the 2MASS Redshift Survey (2MRS) which has been getting some press today. 

The 2MRS shown in an all-sky projection with galaxies colour coded by their distance from us (from purple to red as the distance increases). The projection puts the plane of our Galaxy along the middle - and we can't see through that, so there's no galaxies there. Credit: Tom Jarrett (IPAC). 
This was a project I worked on during my first postdoctoral position (2005-2008) working with John Huchra. This is really John's survey, and Lucas Macri (another former mentee of John's) and myself have been really delighted to be able to finish it off and release it to the public in memory of John. You can now download the data from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the paper, Huchra et al. (2011) will be submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Supplements (which publishes catalogues) very soon.

Also check out Tom Jarrett's page of different maps from 2MRS.

Here in Boston there was a session on remembering the scientific legacy of John Huchra, during which I presented the 2MRS, and also watched for the first time the whole of "John Huchra's Universe" (a world wide telescope tour made by his colleagues at Harvard). A YouTube version of it is below, and I think it really explains why John was so keen to do the 2MRS.

Links to coverage (via Google News search of "2MASS Redshift Survey").

CfA press release.

Portsmouth University coverage.  

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