A study of the southern sky by astronomers responsible for the Dark Energy Camera Plane Survey (DECaPS2) has mapped and identified more than 3 billion celestial bodies. The research data was published in The Astrophysical Journal.
While some astronomical equipment peers into the outer reaches of the universe, others peer into our neighborhoods and our homes.
On a historical mappingastronomers were able to observe, map and identify 3.32 billion celestial bodies in our Milky Way.
Cerro Tololo Interamerican ObservatorySource: CTIO/NSF’s NOIRLab/AURA/H. Stockebrand
The mapping was carried out by the DECaPS2 program, using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), which is located in the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), in Chile, commanded by the NoirLab program of the US National Science Foundation (NSF).
Using the Víctor M. Blanco telescope, where DECam is located, the researchers managed to compose a file that brings together 21,400 individual exposures, forming an image with 10 terabytes!
This is just a small piece of the galactic tapestry formed by the research.Source: DECaPS2/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/E. Slawik/M. Zamani/D. by martin
Observing our galaxy is not simple at all. Dust, overlapping and luminosity of nebulae are factors that hinder the identification of celestial bodies, generating noise in the images.
But the DECam, installed in the CTIO, managed to capture with extreme precision, the brightness and surroundings of approximately 6.5% of the night sky, at an angle of 130º in length.
Area equals 13,000 times the angular area of the full moon.Source: DECaPS2/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/E. Slawik/M. Zamani/D. by martin
Furthermore, by capturing waves in the infrared wavelength, some of the interference factors could be minimized, resulting in a high resolution image.
Thanks to this technological set of data collection and analysis, the image is one of the most impressive ever recorded in our galaxy.
The galactic tapestry is available for viewing, and you can interact with objects by zooming in on different parts of the mapped plane. By clicking on different areas, you will see the search data, and the specific frame of that region.
The image took two years to process., and it will still be years before all the information can be analyzed. For astronomers, the surprising result is another step towards knowing our galaxy.