SDSS Technical Publications


These technical papers describe various aspects of the technical operation of the original Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the SDSS-II’s SEGUE and Supernova surveys, the SDSS-III BOSS, APOGEE, SEGUE-2, and MARVELS surveys, and the SDSS-IV surveys. This list of papers is sorted by the phase of SDSS (most recent first), the survey within SDSS, and the technical system that the paper describes.


Some important technical publications have not yet appeared on ADS or arXiv, but the authors have made preprints available here. Click on the paper titles below to download the preprints. Once these papers are published, their full reference information will be available below.


The list below is automatically generated and may not contain all relevant papers under each heading. For a fuller list of APOGEE and APOGEE-2 technical publications, click here.


SDSS-IV General







Last modified: 2021-10-16 03:00:55





Last modified: 2021-10-16 03:00:55




SEGUE (Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration) collected images and spectra of stars in the Milky Way to create a detailed three-dimensional map of our Galaxy. SEGUE obtained images of 3,200 square degrees of sky and spectra of 240,000 stars in the galactic disk and spheroid. Analysis of the spectra revealed the age, composition and phase space distribution of stars within the various Galactic components. More information can be found on the SEGUE web site.

The complete SEGUE dataset was part of the SDSS’s Data Release 7, and additional images and spectra taken as part of the SDSS-III’s SEGUE-2 extension are available as a part of Data Release 8.

For technical details of the SEGUE survey, see the technical papers below.

Survey Overview

Stellar Pipeline I: Overview

Supernova Survey


The SDSS Supernova Survey was one of three components of SDSS-II, an extension of the original SDSS. The Supernova Survey was a time-domain survey, involving repeat imaging of the same region of sky every other night, weather permitting. The primary scientific motivation was to detect and measure light curves for several hundred supernovae, to help constrain cosmological models in a redshift range where more data were needed.

The Supernova Survey repeatedly imaged the SDSS Southern Equatorial trip (Stripe 82), an area of sky 2.5° wide by 120° long (-1.25 ≤ Dec ≤ 1.25, 310 < RA < 60). Every night, weather permitting, for three months in each of three years (Sept/Oct/Nov 2005-2007), the SDSS camera imaged that area. All these images are publicly available as FITS files from the SDSS Data Archive Server, and catalogs derived from the images are available from the Stripe 82 Catalog Archive Server. The SNANA supernova analysis package used by the team is publicly available on the SDSS Supernova Survey website.

Over the course of the three years, the SDSS Supernova Survey discovered and measured multi-band lightcurves for about 500 spectroscopically confirmed Type Ia supernovae in the redshift range z = 0.05-0.4. Additional light curves are available for a few hundred more Type Ia supernovae that could not be spectroscopically confirmed as supernovae, but for which host galaxy redshifts are known. The survey also discovered about 80 spectroscopically confirmed core-collapse supernovae (supernova types Ib/c and II).

For technical details of the SDSS supernova survey, see the technical papers below.

Technical Summary

Selection of Candidates


General Summary




Filter Definitions

Photometric Monitoring System

Photometric Quality Assessment

Photometric System

Monitor Telescope Pipeline



Magnitude System

If you are studying any objects near the magnitude limit of the survey, you should mention that SDSS uses asinh magnitudes, and reference the paper defining this magnitude system:

Target Selection

If you are dealing with the quasar or galaxy samples, you should reference the corresponding target selection papers from the list below.

Main Galaxy Sample

Luminous Red Galaxy (LRG) Sample

Quasar Sample


If the tiling procedure is at all important to your analysis, you should also reference the tiling paper.


Spectrograph Hardware