ADS All-Sky Survey (ADSASS)

The ADS All-Sky Survey (ADSASS) is an ongoing collaboration of the Seamless Astronomy team, the Strasbourg Astronomical Data Center (CDS), and Microsoft Research aimed at turning the NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS), widely known for its unrivaled value as a literature resource for astronomers, into a data resource.

The ADS is not a data repository per se, but implicitly contains valuable holdings of astronomical data in the form of images, tables, and object or observation references contained within the articles. We place these sources of data in to two categories: 1) data-literature connections, which are made possible from the curatorial efforts of teams around the world, such as the object-literature connections from our SIMBAD collaborators; 2) images, figures, tables, and other scientifically relevant matter embedded in the article but otherwise not extracted anywhere else. 

WorldWide Telescope Based Literature Heatmap viewer

The first objective of the ADSASS is to take the existing, curated, data-literature connections and make them discoverable and available through existing data viewers. To this end we have built sky heatmaps of astronomy articles based on the celestial objects they reference. In other words, this ADSASS viewer visualizes the parts of the sky that have been studied by astronomers. The "hotter" a part of the sky is, the more it has been studied in the literature. The papers citing the sky can be filtered by object type, waveband, and year (of publication). Moreover, when exploring this heatmap of the sky you can zoom into an area of interest and use a select tool to display the papers that cite objects in that area of the sky. We have built an Aladin based and a WorldWide Telescope based dataviewer (left image) of these literature heatmaps. All of our code is hosted on Github, and more information can be found on this conference paper.

The second ADSASS objective is extracting useful data, especially images, contained in but otherwise not previously extracted from published papers. We began by concentrating on older publications from which we parsed and solved 2892 images from 2221 papers using astrometry.net. For example, at the left we show a plate from Ricco's 1895 Catania image (ADS Link) of the NGC 1977 nebula around 42 Orionis., originally published as Plate VIII in Astrophysical Journal, Volume 2. Clicking on the image (left) takes you to the WorldWide Telescope application comparing the plate to the digital sky survey image of the same area 80 years later. We also envision this part of the project as a way to unlock the literature for the public and are working with the Zooniverse to create a citizen science application to solve many such images and make them useful for scientific endeavours such as time variations. 

See also: projects