SDSS-V Focal Plane System Ready for the Stars (and Galaxies)!

November 17, 2021

SDSS-V Focal Plane System Ready for the Stars (and Galaxies)!

SDSS-V Focal Plane System

The Astronomy Department's Imaging Sciences Laboratory (ISL) reached a major milestone this week with the shipment of the first robotic focal plane system (FPS) to Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico for the 5th incarnation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). This powerful new instrument has 500 robotic fiber positioners and will be used to measure 500 spectra in each observation. Over the next few weeks, Professor Richard Pogge, Vice Chair for Instrumentation, and the ISL team will be commissioning the FPS at the 2.5-m Sloan Telescope to prepare it for the start of survey observations.

The ISL built two of these instruments, and the second FPS will be shipped to Las Campanas Observatory in Chile in early 2022. The construction of these two instruments has been the main focus of the ISL since January 2018. Together, these instruments will be used to conduct observations for SDSS-V and study a wealth of science questions that range from the structure of stars, to the chemical evolution of our Galaxy, to the evolution of supermassive black holes. More information is available from

OSU Team with SDSS-V Focal Plane System
Team photo: (L to R) Michael Engelman, Jon Shover, Jacob McCloskey, Richard Pogge, Julia Brady, Jerry Mason, Dan Pappalardo, and Mark Derwent. Not pictured: Chris Brandon, Colby Jurgenson, and Tom O'Brien.