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Session 64 - New Digital Surveys in the Optical and Near IR: Technical Challenges and Scientific Opportunities - II.
Topical, Oral session, Wednesday, June 10

[64.01] New Digital Sky Surveys: Introductory Comments

S. G. Djorgovski (Caltech), C. Beichman (IPAC)

The new and soon to be available Terabyte-size digital sky surveys and data sets, and the scientific opportunities they will offer, will make a major impact in astronomy. This session will focus on several selected optical and near-IR surveys. Each of these efforts will generate and analyse Terabytes of data, and produce uniform, high-quality catalogs of hundreds of millions or even billions of sources. All of these surveys, while motivated and sustained by the scientific interests of their teams, are also intended to be a service for the community, and to generate a scientific legacy which will serve many astronomers for years to come.

The session will cover three aspects of these efforts: the description and the availability of the data; (2) the new methodology and challenges posed by the need to analyse and explore such vast data sets quickly and effectively; (3) some of the initial scientific results generated from these surveys. We consider it especially important to cover developments of new database handling and exploration (data-mining) technologies which are necessary in order to take the full advantage of these large data sets. These will be the software tools for the new, information-rich astronomy of the turn of the century and beyond.

The general availability of these vast new data sets and the tools to explore them will enable astronomers everywhere, regardless of their access to observing facilities, to make additional valuable scientific contributions using these new resources.

Program listing for Wednesday