This grant provides partial support for the planning and implementation of the fifth research phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V). The five-year project aims to use two telescopes (one in New Mexico and one in Chile) fitted with state of the art spectroscopic instruments to answer fundamental questions in astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology about the forces shaping the origin, structure, and future of galaxies; the nature of supermassive black holes; and how regions between stars and galaxies, known as the interstellar medium, impact how these celestial objects form and grow.
SDSS-V will be the most extensive spectroscopic observatory program in operation through the middle of the next decade. Over the course of five years, it will collect infrared spectra of over six million stars in the Milky Way (an order of magnitude more than have ever been observed), optical spectra of over 400,000 black holes, and over 25 million optical spectra of interstellar gas. As with previous phases, all data collected by SDSS-V will be released to both the scientific community and the general public under open principles, allowing non-affiliated scientists and stargazers alike to partake in SDSS discoveries.
Planned technological improvements to the SDSS telescopes will make it one of the only observation programs capable of enhancing, complementing, and making the best use of data from other large astronomical surveys. Both SDSS-V telescopes will be equipped with rapidly reconfigurable fiber positioning technologies that will reduce the time it takes to collect object spectra from hours down to minutes. This will allow the SDSS to rapidly shift its focus and observe interstellar phenomena identified by the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the Kepler and TESS space missions, the Gaia space mission, and the eROSITA satellite.
This grant provides approximately 25 percent of the total SDSS-V project budget and includes funds for project infrastructure and planning, research, instrumentation and technology development, and outreach and education. The remainder of funds will be raised from within the scientific community.