Tuesday was a big day for planning the
After Sloan 2 surveys, which are projects to discover extra-solar planets, to take imaging and spectra of stars in the Galaxy, and to measure the baryon acoustic feature at redshifts of about 0.3, 0.6, and 2.0, all with the 2.5-m telescope at Apache Point Observatory (the telescope used for the SDSS). My principal involvement is likely to be in the acoustic feature project, though I am also very interested in the stellar spectroscopy. Because the planning for the survey is largely at the quasi-proposal-writing level, this might not qualify as bloggable research (see
rules at right), but the scientific issues that arise in the description of this project are deep and interesting.
One of the things I am most excited about is the enormous range of possible ancillary science that can be done with the baryon acoustic feature data. These data will include spectra for many hundreds of thousands of luminous red galaxies, densely sampling an enormous volume to redshift of 0.7 or so, and spectra for hundreds of thousands of quasars at redshifts around 2.5. The challenge (though it isn't that challenging!) is to design highly informative measures of galaxy evolution that can be executed with these data even when the project is fully optimized for baryon acoustic feature science (as it will and should be).