How many stars can you count when you look up clear night sky? Not as much as the Dark Energy Chamber in Chile. Scientists have released a survey of a part of our home Milky Way galaxy that contains 3.32 billion celestial bodies, including billions of stars.
The National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) operates DECam as part of an observatory project in Chile. The new astronomical data set is the second release of the Dark Energy Camera Plane Survey (DECaPS2). NOIRLab called it “It is the largest such catalog ever compiled,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Casual viewers may enjoy NOIRLab a lower resolution version of the query this gives a broad overview. For those who like to dive into details this web viewer allows you to go deeper into the data.
The camera used optical and near-infrared light waves to detect stars, star-forming regions, and clouds of gas and dust. “Imagine a group picture of more than 3 billion people, and each individual can be recognized,” said NSF’s Debra Fischer. “Astronomers will be exploring this detailed portrait of more than 3 billion stars in the Milky Way for decades to come.”
The survey looks at the Milky Way disk, which appears as a bright streak running across the image. It is full of stars and dust. There are so many of both that it can be hard to choose what’s going on. The stars align. Dust hides the stars. Sorting it all out required careful data processing.
“One of the main reasons for DECAPS2’s success is that we simply pointed to a region with an unusually high stellar density and were careful to identify sources that appeared almost on top of each other,” said the Harvard University graduate researcher. Andrew Saidjarichief author a A paper on the survey was published in The Astrophysical Journal this week.
A few billion stars may sound like a small number, but it’s a tiny drop in the galaxy. NASA estimate There are at least 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. The new study covers only 6.5% of the night sky as seen from the Southern Hemisphere.
DECaPS2 was an epic, multi-year project comprising 21,400 individual exposures and 10 terabytes of data. Description of NOIRLab The survey qualifies as a “powerful tapestry of astronomical information.” We’ve never seen the Milky Way like this before. He is beautiful and humble.
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