German astronomers are leading a worldwide effort to produce a revolutionary map and first digital "movie" of the universe.
Researchers from the Max-Planck-Institutes for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, and the Max-Planck Institutes for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, and colleagues worldwide will use data from the University of Hawaii's new 5.9-foot (1.8 meter) PS1 telescope to discover billions of new stars, planets, galaxies and solar system objects -- including potential "killer asteroids" that threaten the Earth.
The project will also produce the most extensive 3-dimensional map of the universe ever made.
The consortium includes the two Max Planck Society institutes in Germany, the University of Hawaii, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Johns Hopkins University and a group of British universities.
The consortium will contribute the hardware and software for the telescope and data pipeline, as well as the cost of operating the survey in Hawaii for 3 1/2 years.
The astronomers said the telescope is undergoing engineering tests and will soon be equipped with the world's largest digital camera, utilizing 1.4 billion pixels.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: Hubble view: Wolf-Rayet stars, intense and short-lived