46-billion-pixel Photo is Largest Astronomical Image of All Time

46-billion-pixel Photo is Largest Astronomical Image of All Time by Suzanne Tracy.

From the post:

With 46 billion pixels, a 194 gigabyte file size and numerous stars, a massive new Milky Way photo has been assembled from astronomical observation data gathered over a five-year period.

Astronomers headed by Prof. Dr. Rolf Chini have been monitoring our Galaxy in a search for objects with variable brightness. The researchers explain that these phenomena may, for example, include stars in front of which a planet is passing, or may include multiple systems where stars orbit each other and where the systems may obscure each other at times. The researchers are analyzing how the brightness of stars changes over long stretches of time.

Now, using an online tool, any interested person can

  • view the complete ribbon of the Milky Way at a glance
  • zoom in and inspect specific areas
  • use an input window, which provides the position of the displayed image section, to search for specific objects. (i.e. if the user types in “Eta Carinae,” the tool moves to the respective star; entering the search term “M8” leads to the lagoon nebula.)

You can view the entire Milky Way photo at http://gds.astro.rub.de and read more on the search for variable objects at http://rubin.rub.de/en/sky-more-crowded-we-thought?.

Great project and a fun read for anyone interested in astronomy!

For big data types, confirmation that astronomy remains in the lead with regard to making big data and the power to process that big data freely available to all comers.

I first saw this in a tweet by Kirk Borne.

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