Sloan data yields biggest color night-sky image ever 01.11.11 Search


Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News, Seattle



Sloan Universe Image

SDSS composite image showing magnifications (SDSS/M Blanton) Successive zooming in on the image of the Southern Galactic Cap (lower left) shows the Messier 33 galaxy (upper left; a further magnification at centre), and even the NGC 604 "stellar nursery"

Astronomers have released the largest ever color image of the whole sky, stitched from seven million images, each made of 125 million pixels.

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey's latest effort tops its own record, published publicly for professional astronomers and "citizen scientists" alike.

Data from Sloan has helped to identify hundreds of millions of cosmic objects.

The release was announced at the 217th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.

Researchers have released an animation on YouTube demonstrating how the incredibly high-resolution image is represented on the celestial sphere.

Michael Blanton, a New York University physicist who presented the work on behalf of the Sloan team, told the conference that it was difficult to overstate the breadth of data Sloan provided.

"There's something like 3,500 papers that have been written on the basis of this data set," he said.

"A few dozen of them are being presented right now, this week at this meeting. They cover topics from the very smallest stars to the most massive black holes in the universe."

Source and see also this and this.

YouTube video tour of the universe:

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