– If you are interested in astronomy, we’ve got some good news for you.Astronomers have released the world’s largest digital survey of the visible Universe.
If printed at full resolution, the image would be 1.5 miles long, and you would have to get close and squint to see the detail.
The data has been made available by the international Pan-STARRS project, which includes scientists from Queen’s University Belfast, who have predicted that it will lead to new discoveries about the Universe.
Astronomers and cosmologists used a 1.8-metre telescope at the summit of Haleakala, on Maui, Hawaii, to repeatedly image three quarters of the visible sky over four years.The data in the Pan-STARRS1 Surveys is made up of three billion separate sources, including stars, galaxies, and other space objects.
“The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogues containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies,” Dr Ken Chambers, Director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories, at the University of Hawaii, said.The roll-out of the survey data is being done in two steps.
Today’s release is the “Static Sky” which provides an average value for the position, brightness and colour for objects captured in the sky at individual moments in time.
In 2017, a second set of data will be released including catalogues and images from each of the individual snapshots that Pan-STARRS took of a given region of sky.