Navigate 3 Billion Celestial Objects in the Milky Way Survey

Navigate 3 Billion Celestial Objects in the Milky Way Survey

Navigate 3 Billion Celestial Objects in the Milky Way Survey

A new survey of the Milky Way has been released containing over 3 billion objects, making it one of the largest astronomical catalogs ever produced. The second data release from the Dark Energy Camera Plane Survey, or DECaPS2, focuses on the galactic plane, which is the disk view of the galaxy where most stars are located and covers 6.5% of the night sky.

The dataset is available for astronomers to use in their research, but it is also available for the public to view online in a web browser. The Legacy Survey Viewer shows a variety of different survey images — you can select DECaPS2 images from the box in the upper right corner to preview the new data and zoom in and out using the slider in the upper left corner.

The galactic plane of the Milky Way.
Astronomers have released a massive survey of the Milky Way’s galactic plan. The new dataset contains a staggering 3.32 billion celestial objects – arguably the largest catalog of its kind to date. The data for this unprecedented survey was obtained with the dark energy camera manufactured by the US Department of Energy at NSF’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a NOIRLab program. The survey is here reproduced in 4000 pixel resolution to be accessible on smaller devices. DECaPS2/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA Image processing: M. Zamani & D. de Martin (NSF NOIRLab)

The galactic plane is difficult to visualize because there are so many stars, which can overlap when viewed from Earth, and because there is so much dust, which you can see as dark swirls in the image above, which can obscure the stars behind it. . So the research looked at near-infrared wavelengths, which can peer through dust for a better view, to build a 3D view of the galaxy.

“One of the main reasons for DECaPS2’s success is that we simply pointed to a region with an extraordinarily high density of stars and were careful to identify sources that appear almost on top of each other,” said lead author of a paper on the research. , Andrew Saydjari of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, in a statement. “Doing so allowed us to produce the largest catalog ever from a single camera, in terms of the number of objects observed.”

The total number of visible objects in the dataset is 3.32 billion and is the result of 10 terabytes of data from 21,400 single exposures taken with the Dark Energy Camera in Chile.

“It’s quite a technical feat. Imagine a group photo of over three billion people and every individual is recognizable!” said Debra Fischer of the National Science Foundation, which funded the Dark Energy Camera. “Astronomers will be poring over this detailed portrait of more than three billion stars in the Milky Way for decades to come. This is a fantastic example of what partnerships between federal agencies can achieve.”

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