The Sloan Digital Sky Survey or SDSS is a major multi-filter imaging and spectroscopic redshift survey using a dedicated 2.5-m wide-angle optical telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico begun in 2000.
Named after the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, it aims to map 25% of the sky and obtain observations on around 100 million objects and spectra for 1 million objects. The main galaxy sample has a median redshift of 0.1; there are redshifts for luminous red galaxies as far z=0.4, for quasars as far as z=5; and the imaging survey has been involved in the detection of quasars beyond a redshift 6.
In the year 2006 the survey entered a new phase, the SDSS-II, by extending the obervations to explore the structure and stellar makeup of the Milky Way, the SEGUE and the Sloan Supernove Survey, which watches after supernovae Ia events to measure the distances to far objects.
SDSS uses a dedicated 2.5-m wide-angle optical telescope, and takes images using photometric system of five filters (named u, g, r, i and z). These images are processed to produce lists of objects observed and various parameters, such as whether they seem pointlike or extended (as a galaxy might) and how the brightness on the CCDs relates to various kinds of astronomical magnitude.