Space scientists use 3.2 billion-pixel camera to take largest photo ever

The world's largest digital camera could unlock mysteries of the universe

The images are so large that it would take 378 4K ultra-high-definition TV screens to display one of them in full size. A significant part of the process was Inserting the rafts (modules of 9 sensors which cost up to $3M) into the focal plane of the LSST Camera, which was a high-stakes operation that took about six months. Meet the world's largest digital camera, made of 189 CCD sensors, that is capable of producing 3,200-megapixel images, for space exploration purposes.

The researchers of the National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) in Stanford (California) have managed to capture the largest photographic image in the world composed of 3200 Mpx.

This staggering performance is made possible through 189 sensors, known as charge-coupled devices (CCDs) that each measure 16 megapixels.

By harnessing the LSST Camera, Rubin Observatory can create the most elaborate astronomical movie of all time, in an effort to shed light on some of the universe's biggest mysteries, including dark matter and dark energy.

As we have commented, once the testing period is completed and it is verified that the sensors are well calibrated and working correctly, the progress will go to the Rubin Observatory in Chile in mid-2021 where it will produce a panoramic image of the complete southern sky.

The images are actually so large that it would require 378 4K television screens to present one in full size, the researchers estimated, adding that the fantastic resolution would allow spotting a golf ball from 24 kilometers (15 miles) away. There are 21 rafts, plus four specialty rafts not used for imaging.

The first images include a Romanesco vegetable, which was chosen for its detailed surface, as well as Vera Rubin herself, who the observatory is named for.

The world's largest digital camera could unlock mysteries of the universe
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Crews on the SLAC Nationwide Accelerator Laboratory have taken the primary 3,200-megapixel pictures with the entire focal airplane of the LSST Digicam, the longer term "eye" of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory.

"These data ... will let us test our models of dark matter and dark energy more deeply and precisely than ever", Ritz added. Utilizing the LSST Camera, the observatory will make the biggest cosmic film ever and shed light on the absolute greatest secrets of the universe, including boring issue and dim vitality. "The observatory will be an awesome office for an expansive scope of science-from nitty gritty investigations of our close planetary system to investigations of faraway items toward the edge of the noticeable universe".

The rafts are packed extremely tightly to maximise the focal airplane's imaging space; the hole between CCDs on neighboring rafts is lower than the width of 5 human hairs, SLAC officers mentioned.

Although the researchers have passed the most important phases of the project, they still have more challenging work ahead in order to assemble the rest of the camera.

"We pretty much nailed it."
These photographs, which can be investigated in full goal on the web (joins at the base of the delivery), show the remarkable detail caught by the imaging sensors. Since the camera was not fully integrated, the team had to make a small pinhole to project the image onto the sensor.

Interestingly, the focal plane needs to be chilled in a cryostat chamber and brought down to -101 degrees Celsius in order for it to work properly.

"Taking these images is a major accomplishment", said Aaron Roodman, professor and chair of the particle physics and astrophysics department and the scientist at SLAC responsible for the assembly and testing of the LSST camera, in a statement.


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