(Interactive!) SDSS Plate Graphics

Continued from my previous post about SDSS plate visualization.

My thoughts continued...

It would be even better if a viewer could get more information about the objects in the field, beyond their type. What about using their SDSS ObjID to pull up more info?

It turns out this is possible, by wrapping around a figure with a library called mpld3 (another of Jake Vanderplas's wonderfully-useful projects). Basically, you can use the same SQL query you used before, and just use more columns of the data. There is a small wrinkle in that you have to use both an Astropy table and a Pandas dataframe to store the object data--a dataframe seems to work best for keeping the correct data with the correct objects. Additionally, you have to write a little plugin for mpld3, and a tiny bit of CSS to make the hovertext tables look decent, but I kludged both together with almost no knowledge of Javascript or HTML/CSS.

At the end of the day, my script generates nice, clickable figures of SDSS plates. Hover over each point to get some basic targeting information, and click to be transported to an object's page on CAS/Explore. This last part was actually really easy, since an object's unique URL is just its ObjID appended onto a base URL.

Anyway, without further ado, here's an example, using a plate that's currently living in the Technische Sammlungen Dresden Museum, as part of a very nice exhibit celebrating the International Year of Light. If you're in the neighborhood, check it out!