Latest Milky Way survey reveals incredible 3.32 billion celestial objects

(ORDO NEWS) — You’ll be familiar with some stunning space images, but the newly released image has to be one of the best: 2 years to create, 10 terabytes of data, 21,400 individual exposures combined, and a final image showing a whopping 3.32 billion celestial objects.

We have the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) to thank for this beautiful image of space, part of the Víctor M. Blanco 4. meter telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), at about 2,200 meters (7,218 feet) above sea level in Chile.

Latest Milky Way survey reveals incredible 3 32 billion celestial objects 1

The image was released as part of the Dark Energy Chamber Plane Study (DECaPS2). ) and it gives us more details than ever before about this part of the cosmos – it accounts for about 6.5 percent of the entire night sky, focusing on the Milky Way’s galactic plane, where the bulk of the galaxy’s mass resides.

Latest Milky Way survey reveals incredible 3 32 billion celestial objects 2
Section of the new survey

“One of the main reasons for the success of DECaPS2 is that we simply pointed to an area with an unusually high density of stars and carefully identified sources that appear almost on top of each other,” says astronomer Andrew Saijari from Harvard University in Massachusetts.

“This allowed us to create the largest such catalog from a single camera in terms of the number of observed objects.”

This high density leads to several problems: Huge streaks. cosmic dust and the glow of brighter stars can completely block light from dimmer objects. By measuring wavelengths in both optical and near-infrared, DECam overcomes these problems.

The team also used a special data processing technique to better estimate what each star’s background should look like, allowing more stars to be observed with greater clarity and overall image fidelity.

Combined with other sky surveys such as the Pan-STARRS project, the latest telescope technology is giving us an unparalleled view of the universe beyond our planet, which of course gives us clues as to how it came to be.

“Combined with images from Pan-STARRS 1, DECaPS2 completes a 360-degree panoramic view of the Milky Way’s disk and additionally reaches many fainter stars,” says astronomer Edward Schlafly of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland.

“With this new survey, we can map the Milky Way’s 3D star and dust structure in unprecedented detail.”

The results are fantastic and the very two year wait was worth it. The data collected during the survey is freely available for use by other researchers and the general public.

DECam was originally created to conduct research on dark energy and better understand this mysterious force that is believed to rule the universe. It continues to produce amazingly detailed images of deep space, and there is much more to come.

“This is a real technical feat,” says astronomer Debra Fisher of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US, who was not directly involved in the study. “Imagine a group photo of over three billion people, and every one of them will be recognizable!”

“Astronomers will study this detailed portrait of more than three billion stars in the Milky Way for decades. This is a fantastic example of what partnerships between federal agencies can achieve.”


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