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2MASS All-Sky Data Release

(Released 2003 Mar 25)

This is the All-Sky Data Release from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, covering 99.998% of the sky observed from both the northern 2MASS facility at Mt. Hopkins, AZ, and the southern 2MASS facility at Cerro Tololo, Chile. The release data products include 4,121,439 Atlas Images (full-fidelity, 512 × 1024 pixel2, 1"/pixel) in the three survey bands, derived from the 59,731 scans of the 8.5´ × 6° Survey Tiles, and Catalogs containing positional and photometric information for 470,992,970 Point sources and 1,647,599 Extended sources.

Users are encouraged to first familiarize themselves with the Explanatory Supplement.

The full-fidelity Atlas Images are now being served online. The full-fidelity Atlas Images carry full WCS information in their headers, as well as photometric zero points derived from the 2MASS calibration, and are suitable for direct measurements. Users are strongly encouraged to refer to sections I.6d and II.4b of the Explanatory Supplement for cautionary notes about their use and a gallery of known Anomalies in the Images.

Access the Catalog and Image data via IRSA
Access the Catalog data via public FTP
Obtain additional general information
Order the DVD-ROM of Catalog data
(order at
View the Explanatory Supplement Consult frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Email the 2MASS Help Desk
for user support or more information
Please provide us with feedback
(Currently, please use the Help Desk)

Please include this acknowledgment in any published material that makes use of the 2MASS All-Sky Release data products.

Additionally, we encourage you to notify us (at as soon as possible about any refereed publications or conference proceedings (even in preprint form) that make use of these Release data products.

A DVD-ROM set containing the Data Release Catalogs (NOT images or movies) is available. If you are interested in ordering this product, please send us an email with your name, institution, and full mailing address. The DVD-ROM is intended for professional astronomers only. Quantities and availability are limited.

The compressed (gzipped) Catalogs are also available via anonymous ftp, at

Thank you very much.

Integrated Source Flux of the 2MASS All-Sky Release

(Map of the Point Source Catalog integrated flux in
5´ × 5´ bins in a galactic Aitoff projection.)
(Map of the average Extended Source Catalog integrated flux
in 18´ × 18´ bins in an equatorial Aitoff equal-area projection.)

Additional general information about the 2MASS All-Sky Release

Sources in the Point Source Catalog (PSC) meet the following criteria:

  1. Source must be detected in at least one band with a signal-to-noise ratio SNR7 OR a source must be detected in three bands with a SNR5
  2. In at least one detected band, the source position must not be masked out because of noisy pixels or other transient events on more than two out of the six (and sometimes seven) frames sampling its position, AND SNR>20 sources must be detected at SNR>3 on at least 40% of individual the unmasked frames OR The source must have non-saturated detections in all three bands AND it must have been measurable on two frames AND detected with SNR>3 on both of those frames
  3. Source must not be identified as a spurious detection of an image artifact from a bright star (sources believed to be real, but affected by artifacts, are included in the Catalog, and are flagged)
  4. Source lies >10´´ from edge of Survey Tile
  5. For multiply-detected sources in Tile overlap regions, only the single apparition farthest from a Tile edge is selected. Sources in the overlap regions not multiply-detected are always included in the PSC, but are properly flagged, so that a user can remove the selection bias, resulting from multiple opportunities to appear in the Catalog.

The cumulative distribution of sources in the All-Sky PSC with galactic latitude is shown in Figure 1. Differential point source counts are shown in Figure 2 (for a 702.8 deg2 field with b>+75°; Figure 3 shows counts for a 10°×10° area centered on l=55°, b=0°. In both of the latter figures, the blue line denotes J-band; green line, H-band; and, red line, Ks-band.

At high latitude, the 2MASS PSC contains accurate detections well below the nominal Survey completeness limits of J=15.8, H=15.1 and Ks=14.3 mag. The turnover in the source counts in the Galactic Plane field occurs nearly 1 mag brighter, because of the effects of confusion noise on the detection thresholds.

Figure 1Figure 2Figure 3

Figure 4 shows the average quoted J, H and Ks photometric measurement uncertainties in 0.2 mag bins, as a function of source magnitude, for all PSC sources having b>75°. The vertical error bars show the RMS dispersion in the mean uncertainties in each brightness bin, and the dashed horizontal lines in each panel show the SNR=10 levels (< >=0.109 mag). The measurement precision for bright, non-saturated sources approaches a constant limit of 0.01-0.02 mags, set by pixelization errors. The achieved SNR=10 levels in the north galactic pole field are on average fainter than the J=15.8, H=15.1 and Ks=14.3 mag specified in the Level 1 Requirements. The brightness estimates of the fully saturated sources are of much poorer accuracy than non-saturated sources.

Figures 5 and 6 show the J-H-Ks color-color diagrams for the north Galactic cap and Galactic plane fields, with the color-coding signifying the density of sources in color bins; red represents the highest density, and blue the lowest. (The density scaling shown in each figure is relative, and specific to each sample.) The expected tracks for dwarf and giant stars from Koorneef 1983, A&A, 129, 84) and Bessell & Brett (1988, PASP, 100, 1134) are overlaid as solid and dashed lines, respectively. (The small offset between the dwarf and giant tracks and the locus of 2MASS source colors is a result of differences in the photometric system.) There is little evidence for reddening in the Galactic cap field, whereas there is considerable reddening of the stars in the Galactic plane field.

Figure 4Figure 5Figure 6


Sources in the Extended Source Catalog (XSC) meet the following criteria:

(see the Explanatory Supplement for details on the scores).

Differential source counts (logN vs. logS) for the entire XSC is shown in Figure 7. The error bars represent sqrt(n) uncertainty measures. For comparison, deep but narrow-field counts from Glazebrook et al. (1994, MNRAS, 266, 65), denoted with a dashed line, and Gardner et al. (1997, ApJ, 480, L99), denoted with a dotted line, are shown. Figure 8 shows the J-H vs. H-Ks color-color Hess diagram for all XSC sources. For reference, we also include the stellar main-sequence and evolved (giant) tracks (green line), and the redshift K-correction (magenta line, assuming SAB-type galaxies with no evolution cosmology; adapted from the models by Bruzual & Charlot 1993, ApJ, 405, 538, and McLeod & Rieke 1995, ApJ, 454, 611).

Figure 7Figure 8

Extended sources range in size from 10´´ to nearly 2° in diameter (e.g., M31). Most 2MASS XSC galaxies are small, settling near the resolution limit of 2MASS. The distributions for extended sources of the isophotal and total radii are shown in Figure 9 (galaxies) and Figure 10 (Galactic sources).

Figure 9Figure 10

Standard Acknowledgment for Use of 2MASS Data in Astronomical Publications

Please include the following in any published material that makes use of the 2MASS data products:

"This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation."

Thank you very much.


Last update: 2004 Sep 16,

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