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Paper: Building a Database from the SDSS Imaging Data
Volume: 411, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XVIII
Page: 366
Authors: Dobos, L.; Csabai, I.; Budavári, T.; Szalay, A.S.
Abstract: We present our solution for organizing high volumes of astronomical imaging data in a relational database focusing on fast data retrieval and Virtual Observatory-style meta-data representation. Previous work by the authors showed that using relational databases for astronomical data can be very useful not only for reduced catalogs like SkyServer (Szalay et al. 2001) but also for high dimensional binary data like spectra (Spectrum Services, Dobos et al. 2004) where meta-data naturally fits into the relational model while storing the binary blobs in the database yields a significant performance gain over ordinary flat files when batch data processing is an objective. We used a special highbandwidth data transport protocol for downloading the whole SDSS dataset over the Internet, or about 8TB of corrected imaging data. All necessary metadata is stored along with the images. For sky coverage representation we used the Spherical Geometry Library of Budavári et al. (2007) which supports fast lookup of images based on a reference celestial region. We are also working on a convenient user interface for the database as well as a web service that will support programmatic client access to the imaging data with standard Virtual Observatory protocols.
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