SDSS DR7 Quick Look Tool

Launch help in new window

For a quick introduction, see the video tutorial.

The Quick Look tool is an easy way to get basic SDSS data about a single object. Click the links in the left panel to use the tool - move your mouse over the links to see what they do.

Data will appear in this main panel. Read on to learn more about what the data mean. Links let you go deeper. Some links take you off SkyServer; click Help from there to return to this screen, or new window to launch these sites in a new window.

The data you can view for a single object (star, galaxy, etc.) in the Quick Look tool are:

  • Object ID: The long ID that you can use to find this object in SkyServer [example: 588848900446814264]
  • Right ascension and declination: this object's position in the sky (new window) [example: 173.74781796, 0.41921316]
  • Preview image: A close-up of the object. Click the image to go to the Navigate tool to see what else is near the object.
  • Object type: The type of the object, as identified by SDSS software: either STAR or GALAXY. This type was found automatically, so it may not always be correct!
  • Magnitudes (u, g, r, i, z): The object's magnitudes (new window) - how bright it appears in each of the SDSS's five wavelength filters (ultraviolet, green, red, infrared-i, infrared-z) [example: 19.55 0.03, etc.]

If the SDSS measured a spectrum (new window) for the object, you will also see the following data:

  • Preview spectrum: A graph of the spectrum. Click the preview spectrum for a larger view.
  • Spectral classification: The type of object, as seen from its spectrum: STAR, GALAXY, QSO (quasar), or HIZ_QSO (high-redshift quasar). The spectral classification is more reliable than the imaging object type.
  • Redshift: The redshift (new window) of the object, which can be used to calculate its distance. Redshift is symbolized by z - do not confuse this z with the infrared-z magnitude. [example: 2.31427E-4]
  • Get spectrum as CSV: Download the spectrum in a format that can be opened in a spreadsheet for analysis

For some objects, you may get a message saying the data may be unreliable. If you see that message, check the flags data in the Explore tool to see why. For a description of the flags, see the Cooking with Sloan: Flags guide (new window).


Click on an object below to see its Quick Look data:

SDSS J075946.49+421526.6: a beautiful spiral galaxy

SDSS J011522.02-004937.3: a quasar at redshift 1.2, halfway across the universe

SDSS J011620.75+001016.2: a bright blue star - notice the diffraction spikes

SDSS J011613.03+001311.4: a faint red star

SDSS J094103.63+344331.9 (the "voorwerp"): a blue blob discovered by a Galaxy Zoo volunteer. It is a star-forming region from the galaxy above it.