Southern Sky Survey
Southern Sky SurveyA photographic star atlas of the southern sky, comprising two sets of photographic plates covering overlapping areas of the sky and taken during the 1970s and 1980s. The celestial objects recorded were very much fainter and more distant than those on previous southern sky maps, and about four times as faint as objects on the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey of the northern and equatorial sky issued in the 1950s. The project was a joint effort involving the use of the 1.0-meter Schmidt telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Chile, and the 1.2-meter UK Schmidt telescope, funded by the UK Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, Australia.
The UK Schmidt contribution was a set of sky-limited blue-sensitive plates; objects between a declination of –17° and –90° (the south celestial pole) were recorded, down to a magnitude of 22. The Southern Sky Survey was completed in 1984. The ESO Schmidt provided, 1987, a corresponding set of red-sensitive plates, covering the same area as the blue-sensitive plates. A further survey working northward toward the celestial equator was completed in 1998. Between 1985 and 1999, the UK Schmidt was used to take red plates for ‘second epoch’ survey of the southern sky. These plates, covering the same regions of sky as the red plates of the original Southern Sky Survey, are separated from them by a mean epoch difference of 15 years, thus allowing astronomers to check proper motions and other positional changes. Material from all the southern sky surveys was converted to digital format during the 1990s. Along with the material from the first and second Palomar Observatory Sky Surveys, the Southern Sky Survey data were incorporated into the First and Second Digitized Sky Surveys published by the Space Telescope Science Institute.