How many stars can you count when you look up? Not nearly as many as the dark energy camera in Chile. Scientists have studied a region of our home Milky Way that contains 3.32 billion celestial objects, including billions of stars.
The National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) operates DECam as part of an observing program in Chile. The new astronomical dataset is the second release of the Dark Energy Camera Plane Survey (DECaPS2). NOIRLab called it “The largest list ever compiled,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Casual visitors can enjoy NOIRLab A reduced-resolution version of the survey It gives a comprehensive overview. For those who want to dive into the details, This web viewer Allows you to dive deeper into the data.
The camera used optical and infrared wavelengths of light to detect stars, star-forming regions, and clouds of gas and dust. “Imagine a group photo of more than 3 billion people, each individual recognizable,” says NSF’s Debra Fischer. “Astronomers will be studying this detailed portrait of more than 3 billion stars in the Milky Way for decades to come.”
The survey looks at the disk of the Milky Way, which appears as a bright band running with the image. It is full of stars and dust. There’s so much of both that it’s hard to figure out what’s going on. The stars overlap. Dust hides the stars. Sorting everything out required careful data processing.
“One of the main reasons for the success of DECaPS2 is that we simply pinpointed a region with an unusually high density of stars and were careful to identify sources that appear to overlap,” said the Harvard University graduate researcher. Andrew SaidzaryLead writer A An article on the study was published in The Astrophysical Journal This week.
Billions of stars may sound like a bonkers number, but it’s only a small drop in the galactic bucket. NASA estimates The Milky Way contains at least 100 billion stars. The new survey covers only 6.5% of the night sky as seen from the Southern Hemisphere.
DECaPS2 is an epic, multi-year project with 21,400 unique exposures and 10 terabytes of data. Description of NOIRLab A survey of “Amazing Astronomical Data Tape” is appropriate. We have never seen the Milky Way before. It is beautiful and humble.
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