Writing MaNGA


MaNGA letters
Karen Masters
Haverford College


This ancillary programme was designed to observe galaxies in the shape of M, A, N and G in order to be able to spell ‘MaNGA’ in galaxies. This is primarily motivated by public engagement and outreach, but the targets are in addition interesting mergers and/or galaxy overlaps. This programme was assigned 3 bundles which will observe an M and A and a G shaped galaxy. An N shaped galaxy was found to already be in the main sample.

Finding Targets

An object whose MANGA_TARGET3 or MNGTARG3 value includes one or more of the bitmasks in the following table was targeted for spectroscopy as part of this ancillary target program. See SDSS bitmasks to learn how to use these values to identify objects in this ancillary target program.

Program (bit name) Bit number Target Description Number of Targets
Letters 11 Galaxies in the shape of M, A, N or G. 13


The letter galaxies are included as tools to demonstrate the power of integral-field spectroscopy, and MaNGA in particular.

We intend to make a powerpoint slide available to the collaboration that shows the SDSS images of the MaNGA galaxies, which then fades to show the various scientific maps that we are generating for the MaNGA survey (i.e., velocity maps, H-alpha emission maps, stellar ages, metallicities, etc.).

In addition, we will display these MaNGA letter galaxies and their maps on posters, post-cards, flyers, etc., and make these available for the SDSS booth that frequents large astronomical conferences such as AAS, IAU and NAM.

There are no explicit scientific goals to this ancillary programme.

Target Selection

Targets were initially selected via the list of galaxies shaped like letters identified by the Galaxy Zoo project (Lintott et al. 2008) and available for inspection at Writing with GalaxyZoo.

Candidate letters were cross matched with the MaNGA target sample, and it was identified that an N is present as a target galaxy in a plate which should be in the baseline footprint. A selection of suitable candidate letters for M, A and G were provided.


Unfortunately not all letters were observed during the survey, but we do have the M and G available (links lead to Marvin).


Lintott, C., et al. 2008, MNRAS 389, 1179