9 May 2016
SkyMapper Early Data Release (EDR) live!
The SkyMapper Team is pleased to announce that the first data release from its five-year survey of the southern sky is now available for download by Australian astronomers. The science-grade Early Data Release (EDR) covers a third of the southern sky (6,700 sq. deg) in all six SkyMapper filters and includes data from nearly 20,000 images taken between March 2014 and March 2015. Among a broad range of science goals, this large data set of nearly 50 million stars and galaxies will help astronomers to find the oldest and most chemically-pristine stars in our Milky Way, as well as some of the Universe's most luminous quasars -- active galaxies powered by supermassive black holes in the far reaches of the cosmos.
Australian astronomers have exclusive access to the EDR. The EDR is a prelude to the first all-sky release of SkyMapper data (DR1) expected at the end of 2016. We encourage all interested parties to use the EDR for their research and give the SkyMapper Team feedback on data quality, completeness and suggestions for improving the access tools. These suggestions will then be incorporated into future data releases. Enjoy!
The image above shows the location of the fields chosen to form the Early Data Release. Included are all 1,176 SkyMapper fields in the low-reddening sky that have at least two images in every filter taken in near-photometric conditions with seeing <5".