Fig. 1. Left: Footprint of the LAMOST pilot survey and the eight-year regular low-resolution survey; Right: Footprint of the LAMOST medium-resolution commissioning and the first two-year regular medium-resolution survey. [IMAGE: LAMOST TEAM]

The LAMOST DR8 dataset, including the spectra obtained from the pilot survey through to the eighth-year regular survey, was officially released to domestic astronomers and international partners on March 31, according to the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Scientific users can log on the website at to query and download the DR8 data.

The DR8 dataset includes the spectra obtained from both the low- and medium-resolution surveys. A total of 17.23 million spectra have been released, consisting of 11.21 million low-resolution spectra from the observation of 5,207 plates, and 1.47 million non-time-domain and 4.55 million time-domain medium-resolution spectra from 1,089 plates. High-quality spectra, with a signal to noise ratio (S/N) over 10, reached the number of 13.28 million.

Moreover, the stellar spectral parameters of 7.75 million stars were released in DR8, which also include the abundances in the stars of 12 elements, such as carbon, magnesium, and calcium. It is currently the largest stellar spectral parameter catalogue in the world.

It is estimated that by 2022, the number of spectra released by LAMOST will exceed 20 million. Such a huge spectroscopic dataset is the result of the LAMOST design concept, which is to conduct large-scale spectroscopic sky survey.

Before LAMOST was built, the number of objects observed by humans had already reached tens of billions, but only one in ten thousand of them had undergone spectroscopic observation. At that time, only a few hundred spectra could be obtained in a single exposure using the largest spectroscopic survey telescope.

To realize a large-scale spectroscopic sky survey, the designers of LAMOST increased the number of fibers to 4,000, which increased the maximum number of fibers equipped on a telescope by an order of magnitude. In 2008, LAMOST carried out its first light observation, opening a new era of large-scale spectroscopic sky surveys.

Fig. 2. LAMOST and the Milky Way [IMAGE: CHEN YINGWEI]

Moreover, the fast robotic fiber arrangement technology, which was first applied to large-scale multi-fiber equipment successfully by LAMOST, also plays an important role in the high spectral acquisition rate. To reconfigure for a new sky map only takes 10 minutes, improving observation efficiency.

“Having operated for 10 years, the huge amount of released data and the increasing study results have manifested the success of LAMOST, for both of its design concept and its technology,” said Professor Zhao Yongheng, Executive Deputy Director of the Center for Operation and Development of LAMOST.

The spectral data and related LAMOST products provide valuable insights for studying the structure, origin and evolution of the Milky Way. With the continuous efforts of the LAMOST team and the mining and use of LAMOST data by astronomers all over the world, LAMOST will continue to yield more exciting finds.

Source: National Astronomical Observatories,

Chinese Academy of Sciences

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