Billions of celestial bodies have been revealed in a massive survey of the Milky Way


Billions of celestial bodies have been revealed in a massive survey of the Milky Way

Dotted with stars and dark dust clouds, this image is a snippet—just a tiny flick—from the Dark Energy Camera’s (DECaPS2) Complete Survey of the Milky Way. The new dataset contains a staggering 3.32 billion celestial bodies – arguably the largest such catalog to date. Data for this unprecedented survey was taken using the US Department of Energy’s Dark Energy Camera at the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a program of NOIRLab. Credit: DECaPS2/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA. Image processing: M. Zamani & D. de Martin (NSF’s NOIRLab)

Astronomers have released a massive galactic plane survey of the Milky Way. The new dataset contains a staggering 3.32 billion celestial bodies – arguably the largest such catalog to date. Data for this unprecedented survey was taken using the Dark Energy Camera, built by the US Department of Energy, at the NSF Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a program of NOIRLab.


The Milky Way contains hundreds of billions of stars, shimmering star-forming regions, and towering dark clouds of dust and gas. Imaging these objects and cataloging them for study is a daunting task, but a newly released astronomical dataset known as the Dark Energy Camera Plane Survey Data Release II (Decaps 2) reveals an astonishing number of these objects in unprecedented detail. The DECaPS2 survey, which took two years to complete and yielded more than 10 terabytes of data from 21,400 individual exposures, identified nearly 3.32 billion objects – arguably the largest catalog compiled to date. Astronomers and the public can explore the dataset here.

This unprecedented cluster was captured by the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) instrument on the 4-meter Víctor M. Blanco telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), a program of the NSF NOIRLab. CTIO is a constellation of international astronomical telescopes perched atop Cerro Tololo in Chile at an altitude of 2,200 meters (7,200 feet). CTIO’s lofty vantage point provides astronomers with an unparalleled view of the southern celestial hemisphere, allowing DECam to capture the galaxy’s southern plane in such detail.

Decaps 2 It is a survey of the plane of the Milky Way as seen from the southern sky taken from optical and near-infrared wavelengths. the The first set of data From DECaPS released in 2017, and with the addition of the new data release, the survey now covers 6.5% of the night sky and spans a staggering 130 degrees. While it may sound modest, this is equivalent to 13,000 times the angular area of ​​the full moon.

The DECaPS2 dataset is available to the entire scientific community and is hosted by NOIRLab’s Astro Data Lab, which is part of the Data and Community Science Center. Interactive access to pan/zoom imaging within a web browser is available from Old Scan Viewerthe global telescope And Aladdin.

Most of the Milky Way’s stars and dust lie in its disk — the bright band running across this image — where the spiral arms lie. While this large amount of stars and dust makes for beautiful pictures, it also makes the galactic plane difficult to spot. The dark tendrils of dust seen through this image absorb starlight and completely wipe out the faint stars, and light from diffuse nebulae interferes with any attempts to measure the brightness of individual objects. Another challenge arises from the sheer number of stars, which can overlap in the image and make it difficult to separate individual stars from their neighbours.

Despite the challenges, astronomers have delved to the galactic level to gain a better understanding of our Milky Way. By observing near-infrared wavelengths, they were able to bypass much of the light-absorbing dust. Researchers have also used Innovative data processing approach, which allowed them to better predict the background behind each star. This helped mitigate the effects of crowded nebulae and starfields on such large astronomical images, ensuring that the final catalog of processed data would be more accurate.

Billions of celestial bodies have been revealed in a massive survey of the Milky Way

Astronomers have released a massive galactic plane survey of the Milky Way. The new dataset contains a staggering 3.32 billion celestial bodies – arguably the largest such catalog to date. Data for this unprecedented survey was taken using the US Department of Energy’s Dark Energy Camera at the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a program of NOIRLab. For reference, a low-resolution image of the DECaPS2 data is superimposed over an image showing the whole sky. The callout box is a full-resolution display of a small portion of the DECaPS2 data. Credit: Credit: DECaPS2/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/E. Slawik. Image processing: M. Zamani & D. de Martin (NSF’s NOIRLab)

said Andrew Sedgarry, a Harvard graduate student, researcher at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard and Smithsonian University, and lead author of the paper. “Doing this allowed us to produce the largest catalog of this type ever from a single camera, in terms of the number of items spotted.”

when combined with images from Pan-STARRS 1DECaPS2 completes a 360-degree panoramic view of the Milky Way’s disk and also reaches for fainter stars, said Edward Schlafly, a researcher at the AURA-run Space Telescope Science Institute and co-author of the paper describing DECaPS2 published in Astrophysical Journal Supplement. “With this new survey, we are able to map the 3D structure of the Milky Way’s stars and dust in unprecedented detail.”

Billions of celestial bodies have been revealed in a massive survey of the Milky Way

Astronomers have released a massive galactic plane survey of the Milky Way. The new dataset contains a staggering 3.32 billion celestial bodies – arguably the largest such catalog to date. Data for this unprecedented survey was taken using the US Department of Energy’s Dark Energy Camera at the National Science Foundation’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a program of NOIRLab. The scan is reproduced here at 4000 pixels to be accessible on smaller devices. Credit: DECaPS2/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab NSF/AURA Image processing: M. Zamani & D. de Martin (NSF’s NOIRLab)

“Since my work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey two decades ago, I’ve been looking for a way to make better measurements over complex backgrounds,” said Douglas Finkbeiner, professor at the Center for Astrophysics and co-author of the paper. , the principal investigator behind the project. “This business accomplished that and more.”

“This is quite a technical feat,” says Debra Fisher, director of NSF’s Astronomy Division. “Imagine a group photo of more than three billion people and each individual is identifiable.” “Astronomers will look at this detailed picture of more than three billion stars in the Milky Way for decades to come. This is a great example of what partnerships across federal agencies can achieve.”

more information:
Andrew K. Saidjari et al., Dark Energy Camera Plane Survey 2 (DECaPS2): More Sky, Less Bias, Better Uncertainty, The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (2023). DOI: 10.3847/1538-4365/aca594

Additional photos

Interactive view of the data set

Provided by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)

the quote: Billions of celestial objects revealed in the Milky Way’s Massive Survey (2023, January 18) Retrieved January 18, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-billions-celestial-revealed-gargantuan-survey. html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.





Source link

Related Posts

Precaliga