NCES Discipline



Galactic Structure


The researcher participates in large-scale astronomical survey projects, which are collaborative efforts of many institutions and individuals. Management of the raw and processed/calibrated data is handled by those projects, but data for specific research questions is handled by the researcher. The researcher would like to have a better way to share the data behind the figures in their published papers with other researchers. The effort involved in retrieving and documenting the data so it’s usable by others is a barrier to sharing the data. It would be easier to share data from publications if it could be deposited to a centralized repository (institutional or elsewhere), where it could be maintained past the length of a grant-funded project.

The specific research project detailed in this data curation profile was completed in 2002, but the researcher said that it is still representative of how they conduct research and work with data today. This is one of the first projects that was done with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) data. A subset of SDSS data was used to identify overdensities of stars that could not be accounted for using a smooth density model of the Milky Way. The research resulted in the discovery that the spheroid of the Milky Way was significantly lumpy in density.