3.2 Gigapixel Pictures

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The newly being built telescope Vera C. Rubin Observatory will get a unique digital camera. In ten years it should create a catalog of 20 billion galaxies and many more other astronomical objects.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In Chile, on the mountain El Peñón, a new telescope called Vera C. Rubin Observatory is being built which was previously known as Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). It will be the largest telescope in the world capable of scanning the whole night sky. It main mirror will have a diameter of 8.4 meters and it should be fully operational in 2023.

A unique digital camera is being developed for this telescope in the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratry. It will be the biggest digital camera in the world. And recently, the tested an incredible array of imaging features which will be a key part of the camera for the Rubin Observatory telescope.

Experts from SLAC took pictures with a resolution of 3.2 gigapixels. This is a new record for a single image. These pictures are so extremely large that you would need 378 4K UHD televisions just to see the image in its glorious true form. The resolution is so insane, that you would be able to clearly zoom in and display a golf ball photographed from a distance of 24 kilometers. Astronomers will surely have fun with it.

Once this miraculous camera will be installed in the Rubin Observatory it will take pictures of the whole Southern sky. One picture every few nights for ten years. These images will be the foundation for a grand catalog of the night sky called Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time. This catalog should include more galaxies than there are people on Earth and information about a much grander number of other astrophysical objects. This catalog should allow us to understand some of the darkest mysteries hiding in the depths of the Universe.

According to the director of the observatory Stevan Kahn these test images are one of the most important successes necessary for successfully finishing the Rubin Observatory project.


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Vera Rubin was a top notch astrophysicist and made key contributions to the science relating to dark matter, R.I.P.