Abstract

Astronomers can map the sky in many ways: observing in different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, obtaining spectra of stars and galaxies to determine their physical properties and distances, and repeatedly observing to measure the variability, explosions, and motions of celestial objects. In this review I describe recent surveys of the sky astronomers have carried out, focusing on those in the visible part of the spectrum. I describe in detail the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, an ongoing imaging and spectroscopic survey of over one quarter of the celestial sphere. I also discuss some of the major surveys planned for the next decade, using telescopes both on the ground and in space.

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