Astrometric calibration of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Jeffrey R. Pier, Jeffrey A. Munn, Robert B. Hindsley, G. S. Hennessy, Stephen M. Kent, Robert H. Lupton, Željko Ivezić

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The astrometric calibration of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is described. For point sources brighter than r ∼ 20, the astrometric accuracy is 45 mas rms per coordinate when reduced against the USNO CCD Astrograph Catalog and 75 mas rms when reduced against Tycho-2, with an additional 20-30 mas systematic error in both cases. The rms errors are dominated by anomalous refraction and random errors in the primary reference catalogs. The relative astrometric accuracy between the r filter and each of the other filters (u, g, i, z) is 25-35 mas rms. At the survey limit (r ∼ 22), the astrometric accuracy is limited by photon statistics to approximately 100 mas rms for typical seeing. Anomalous refraction is shown to contain components correlated over 2° or more on the sky.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1559-1579
Number of pages21
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3 1767
StatePublished - Mar 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Astrometry
  • Methods: data analysis
  • Surveys


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