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Hot Paper in Physics

"The Sixth Data Release of the Sloan Digital Survey," by Jennifer K. Adelman-McCarthy and 163 others, Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 175(2): 297-313, April 2008.

[Authors' affiliations: 84 institutions worldwide]

Abstract: "This paper describes the Sixth Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. With this data release, the imaging of the northern Galactic cap is now complete. The survey contains images and parameters of roughly 287 million objects over 9583 deg(2), including scans over a large range of Galactic latitudes and longitudes. The survey also includes 1.27 million spectra of stars, galaxies, quasars, and blank sky (for sky subtraction) selected over 7425 deg2. This release includes much more stellar spectroscopy than was available in previous data releases and also includes detailed estimates of stellar temperatures, gravities, and metallicities. The results of improved photometric calibration are now available, with uncertainties of roughly 1% in g, r, i, and z, and 2% in u, substantially better than the uncertainties in previous data releases. The spectra in this data release have improved wavelength and flux calibration, especially in the extreme blue and extreme red, leading to the qualitatively better determination of stellar types and radial velocities. The spectrophotometric fluxes are now tied to point-spread function magnitudes of stars rather than fiber magnitudes. This gives more robust results in the presence of seeing variations, but also implies a change in the spectrophotometric scale, which is now brighter by roughly 0.35 mag. Systematic errors in the velocity dispersions of galaxies have been fixed, and the results of two independent codes for determining spectral classifications and red-shifts are made available. Additional spectral outputs are made available, including calibrated spectra from individual 15 minute exposures and the sky spectrum subtracted from each exposure. We also quantify a recently recognized underestimation of the brightnesses of galaxies of large angular extent due to poor sky subtraction; the bias can exceed 0.2 mag for galaxies brighter than r = 14 mag."

This 2008 report from Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series was cited 43 times in current journal articles indexed by Clarivate Analytics during November-December 2009. Only two other physics papers, aside from reviews, attracted higher citation totals during that two-month period. June of 2009 saw the publication of the next installment from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the Seventh Data Release, a report that is already garnering citations at a rapid clip. The Physics Top Ten has previously featured two SDSS reports at once, and this scenario seems likely to be repeated in the near future. Prior to the most recent bimonthly count, citations to the Sixth Data Release have accrued as follows:

September-October 2009: 35 citations
July-August 2009: 29
May-June 2009: 39
March-April 2009: 45
January-February 2009: 34
November-December 2008: 35
September-October 2008: 16
July-August 2008: 17

Total citations to date: 293

SOURCE: Hot Papers Database (Included with a subscription to the print newsletter Science Watch®, available from the Research Services Group of Thomson Reuters. Packaged on a CD that is mailed with each Science Watch issue, the Hot Papers Database contains data on hundreds of highly cited papers published during the last two years. User interface permits searching by author, organization, journal, field, and more. Total citations, as well as citations accrued during successive bimonthly periods, can be assessed and graphed. An updated CD containing the most recent bimonthly data is mailed with every new issue of Science Watch, six times a year. The CD also includes an electronic version of the Science Watch issue in HTML format, for personal desktop access.

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