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Earth Space Science

1,400 Megapixel Pan-STARRS Telescope Comes Online 54

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 inKubus ( 199753 ) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:45PM (#32692396) Homepage Journal

    I think this is a really exciting project because it's the first in a long line of possibilities to take whole-sky digital movies. You could conceivably add more of these arrays to the four corners of the globe and have a whole sky image even more frequently, up to daily. Then it's just a matter of "how deep" into space you're looking, and that's where the resolution comes in. More megapixels per frame means they can use a wider focal length to see a given depth into space. The next step after you reach the daily image is to put arrays in orbit around the sun, 6 total and have a real 3d view of space. We're only in the beginning. If they had spent what they've spent on Iraq and Afghanistan on this, we would already have this. We need to get our priorities straight before we stagnate as a species. We need "future occupations" once the solar and geothermal powered robots are taking care of our food, homes, and everything else we need to survive. "Jobless recovery" means this is coming far faster than anyone wants to think.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?