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Earth Space Science

1,400 Megapixel Pan-STARRS Telescope Comes Online 54

Posted by timothy
from the don't-get-your-panstarrs-in-a-bunch dept.
ElectricSteve writes "Astronomers in Hawaii have announced they've successfully managed to boot up the Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) telescope. Working from dusk to dawn every night, Pan-STARRS is able to map one-sixth of the sky each month, allowing astronomers to track all moving objects, calculate their orbits, and identify any potential threats to Earth. There are four Pan-STARRS cameras in total, each capable of capturing around 1.4 billion pixels over a sensor measuring 40 centimeters square. The focal plane of each camera contains an almost complete 64x64 array of CCD devices, each containing approximately 600x600 pixels, for a total resolution of 1.4 gigapixels."
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1,400 Megapixel Pan-STARRS Telescope Comes Online

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  • by aramosfet (1824288) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:38AM (#32687794)
    No, they wont be snapping an image every second, They'll be taking long exposure pics to gather enough light. so you'd be snapping just a few pics every day. That being said analyzing all those pics could take lot longer, unless they have image analysis softwares which scan, analyze them all and and flag anything unusual.
  • by lollacopter (1758854) on Friday June 25, 2010 @03:32AM (#32687970)
    Some amateurs assist these kinds of projects via sites such ash http://www.galaxyzoo.org/ [galaxyzoo.org] which is a site that asks you to classify galaxies into types such as clockwise-spiral or elliptical etc. I know I like doing this as the skies around where I live are very light polluted so its nice to assist in some way I can, and there is just so much data to go through that all eyeballs are appreciated
  • by imakemusic (1164993) on Friday June 25, 2010 @03:34AM (#32687984)

    I'm no astronomer, but presumably a computer can...

    1) Compare image to previous image.
    2) Highlight areas where there has been a significant change.
    3) ?????
    4) Show these bits to a human.
    5) Profit (for the human, not the computer).

  • Bad article (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kentari (1265084) on Friday June 25, 2010 @03:35AM (#32687986) Homepage

    Better information, though not of great quantity is found on the Pan=Starrs website [hawaii.edu].

    What is now online is the PS1 prototype on Haleakala. PS4 is the final goal of this project, which is basically 4 PS1 units each equipped with 1 1.4 Gigapixel camera, to be build on Mauna Kea. As usual there are delays and the project focus is now bringing PS1 to "full survey" status (which seems to be completed) and building the PS2 telescope, also on Haleakala.

  • by Kentari (1265084) on Friday June 25, 2010 @03:51AM (#32688040) Homepage

    Actually, accumulation time for Pan-Starrs survey images is typically only around 30 seconds, which is not dramatically different from other surveys. At 2.8 gigabytes of data per image (16-bits per pixel) you are looking at a data rate of 1.50 gigabit per second.

    Most of processing (calibration, star detection...) and object detection (asteroids, supernovae and other transient objects) is very automated, with minimal interference from humans. Next to the asteroid/supernova search the project will create a master sky image, adding all good images into one to create a comprehensive and deep survey of the cosmos.

    Source: Pan-Starrs Website [hawaii.edu].

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