2MASS Point Source Catalog

(Latest revision: 24 July 2018)


The 2MASS Point Source Catalog (PSC) contains positional and photometric infomation for 470,992,970 compact sources extracted from the Two Micron All Sky Suvey (2MASS) imaging data, in the near-infrared J (1.25 microns), H (1.65 microns) and Ks (2.16 microns) bands. The 10-sigma point source detection level is better than 15.8, 15.1 and 14.3 mag at the J, H, and Ks bands, respectively. Details on the survey and data products can be found in the 2MASS Explanatrory Supplement.

NED Nomenclature

Example: 2MASS J04375556-0931094

Processing Notes

Photometry, astrometry, and nomenclature for 471 million sources in the 2MASS PSC were integrated into NED using the latest data ingestion and cross-matching pipeline. A brief overview of the process is as follows:

  • Analysis of the orginal catalog content
  • Production of a configuration file that maps original catalog fields into the NED database schema
  • Ingestion of essential data and metadata including coordinates, selected magnitudes, and their uncertainties
  • Assignment of unique NED source IDs and population of the NED Source Directory to prepare the incoming catalog sources for cross-matching
  • A trial run of approximately 1 million sources through NED's Catalog Integration Pipeline, which includes MatchEx, to determine whether each source is a cross-ID, has possible matches (associations), or has no match with prior objects in NED.
  • Vetting of the object-source match (OSM) results for the trial run and selection of final match parameters
  • Running all catalog sources through the pipeline, resulting in promotion of each incoming source into the NED Object Directory and fusion of new measurements from the 2MASS PSC with prior data for objects determined to have reliable cross-IDs
  • Inspection and analysis of the outcome and (incremental) releases of the results

In November 2017, the team released the results of cross-matching 150 million sources (32% of the entire catalog) located at declination south of -37 degrees. Among those 2MASS PSC sources, 92% were new objects to NED, and 8% had new cross-identifications with prior NED objects, including the fusion of their photometric data into object SEDs. Cross-matching and data fusion for the rest of the catalog was performed in the Production database and completed in May 2018. This was followed by a period of verification and validation, and completion of data management and system engineering required to prepare the vastly expanded database for release to the public. The results of integrating the entire 471 million sources into NED was released in July 2018. The tables and graphics below characterize the results.

Source Density


The distribution of NED objects on the sky is shown in a time sequence:

  1. May 2017: prior to folding in the 2MASS PSC, NED contained 253 million distinct cross-matched objects;
  2. Nov 2017: after integration of 150 million sources (32% of the PSC), NED contained 391 million objects;
  3. Jul 2018: after complete cross-matching of all 471 million sources, NED contained 666 million objects;
  4. The above three views in an animated sequence.
The data are plotted in Galactic coordinates. The color bar shows the number density ranging from 0 (black) to 3.6 million (red) objects per square degree. The most dense region (centered at l = 223.59 deg, b = -54.39 deg, lower right) is within the CANDELS/Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

What did the 2MASS point sources match up with?

Approximately 57 million (12%) of the 471 million sources in the 2MASS PSC were cross-identified with prior NED objects, and their JHKs band photometry has been joined into spectral energy distributions (SEDs). The table below lists the largest survey catalogs in NED, along with the total number of objects and the number of 2MASS point sources with cross-IDs to each survey, as of the July 2018 NED release.

Survey in NED NED objects with XIDs 2MASS PSC objects with XIDs
SDSS 154,641,323 15,959,270
SSTSL2 (Spitzer Source List) 41,792,031 20,796,851
GALEX ASC 39,569,906 20,672,964
2MASX (2MASS XSC) 1,635,513 1,613,344
2dFGRS (z survey) 233,252 140,494
6dF (z survey) 111,541 104,693
WiggleZ (z survey) 81,361 160
GAMA (z survey) 59,621 25,706
MGC (z survey) 11,065 5,313
Total ~57,000,000

Objects with Redshifts

Cross-identifications in NED resulted in attaching redshifts from surveys such as the SDSS and the 2dFGRS, enabling the estimation of derived quantities such as distance and luminosity for 1.6 million 2MASS PSC objects.

The distribution of objects on the sky is shown as of July 2018 for all 7.73 million NED objects with an available redshift (left) and the subset of 1.6 million NED objects with a 2MASS PSC counterpart and an available redshift (right).

The distribution of redshifts and corresponding cosmological look-back times for 7.77 million NED objects with an available redshift (in the July 2018 NED release), including the following subsets: 4.26 million spectroscopic redshifts (green); 3.47 million photometric redshifts (blue); and 1.63 million 2MASS PSC objects (red).

Validating Cross-IDs

The results of cross-matching the PSC with NED were evaluated by visual inspection of many regions of the sky, and also by viewing SEDs for many compact sources to confirm that the photometry of 2MASS point sources is consistent with measurements in other spectral regions. Following are examples that illustrate the results by "blinking" sequences of images:

Field centered at (Glon, Glat) = (0, +10). Sequence: (1) DSS2 image showing the optical counterpart of the only 2MASS object in NED prior to ingest of the PSC, extended source 2MASX J17082726-2326327 near the field center. (2) 2MASS PSC sources plotted as markers. (3) Results of a NED query after the cross-matching, verifying excellent corresponance between visual sources (image) and the 2MASS PSC objects (markers).

Field centered on M51a. Sequence: (1) SDSS image. (2) 2MASS PSC sources plotted as pink diamonds. (3) Objects in NED prior to the 2MASS PSC integration (blue dots), including H II regions, star clusters, and other features within the galaxy. (4) Overlay of the 2MASS PSC objects (pink diamonds) superposed on the prior NED objects (blue dots).

Field within the SDSS DR6 sky coverage. Sequence: (1) SDSS image. (2) 2MASS PSC sources (pink diamonds). (3) Objects in NED prior to the 2MASS PSC integration (blue dots). (4) Overlay of 2MASS PSC objects (pink diamonds) cross-matched with prior NED objects (blue dots).

Field outside the SDSS DR6 sky coverage. Sequence: (1) SDSS image. (2) 2MASS PSC sources (pink diamonds). (3) Objects in NED prior to the 2MASS PSC integration (blue dots). (4) Overlay of 2MASS PSC objects (pink diamonds) cross-matched with prior NED objects (blue dots).

The SED of the quasar and Flat-Spectrum Radio Source PKS 1057-79 showing excellent correspondence of the 2MASS PSC photometry (J, H, Ks bands) with other measurements in NED spanning from gamma rays through radio frequencies. This is one of many SEDs used to validate the results of cross matching the 2MASS PSC with prior objects in NED.