Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World’s largest digital camera to change view of the Universe

08.04.2008
Our view of the Universe is about to be changed by the largest and most detailed ‘map’ of the heavens ever produced.

The new ‘map’ was discussed at Queen’s University Belfast, by the driving force behind the construction and operation of the largest digital camera ever created, Doctor Nick Kaiser from the University of Hawai’i.

Speaking at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting at Queen’s, Dr. Kaiser will explain how the first component of the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is about to change our view of the Universe. By surveying the whole sky visible from the top of a dormant Hawaiian volcano, the Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) telescope will discover a myriad of asteroids, comets and exploding stars. In the process it will create the largest and most detailed map of the heavens ever produced.

“The Pan-STARRS project system has been designed to scan the sky very rapidly and will effectively generate a time-lapse movie of the entire visible sky. It exploits the combination of recent advances in detector and computer technology with the superb image quality obtainable at observing sites in Hawaii,” explained Dr. Kaiser.

The digital camera attached to the telescope contains 1300 Megapixels; the average digital camera in a high-street store has roughly only ten Megapixels. The PS1 telescope also has a field of view equivalent to that of 35 full moons and as a result the images taken by PS1 are of astounding quality and size.

Dr Kaiser added: “The observatory will take up to 1000 exposures per night and will generate mind boggling amounts of data. These will be made available for scientists to study via a revolutionary data archiving system.”

Dr Kaiser will also discuss the telescope’s hunt for dangerous asteroids.

Calculations led by Dr. Robert Jedicke at the University of Hawai’i indicate that PS1 by itself may discover up to five times as many near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) as all other survey telescopes put together.

Starting this summer, astronomers at Queen’s, led by Professor Alan Fitzsimmons of the Astrophysics Research Centre, will start a programme of studying small NEAs that up to now have been difficult to detect.

“The Pan-STARRS project is very sensitive to the smaller asteroids that pass by our planet” said Professor Fitzsimmons.

“Although so-called dinosaur-killer asteroids have been well studied, we know relatively little about the smaller objects. These can wipe out an area the size of Northern Ireland if they hit. We will use the PS1 discoveries to study their properties en-masse.”

Queen’s University is part of a UK consortium (along with Edinburgh and Durham Universities) that has invested in PS1 to support the three and a half year mission. In return Queen’s scientists will be able to study new asteroids, stars, galaxies and supernovae discovered by PS1 over the course of its mission.

PS1 will commence operations later this year, but it is just the beginning. It is a pathfinder for the full Pan-STARRS system that should be ready around 2011-2012. This will comprise four telescopes the size of PS1 and will continuously scan the sky for unknown astronomical objects.

Lisa Mitchell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.qub.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms
20.02.2018 | Institute for Basic Science

nachricht Observing and controlling ultrafast processes with attosecond resolution
20.02.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

New tech for commercial Lithium-ion batteries finds they can be charged 5 times fast

20.02.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>