Milky Way stars catalogued in massive new image

Oct 24, 2012
A veiw of central parts of the Milky Way obtained with the VISTA survey telescope at the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Paranal Observatory in Chile. The high-resolution photo contains nearly nine billion pixels. It was created by combining thousands of individual images from VISTA, taken through three different infrared filters, into a single monumental mosaic.

Astronomers said Wednesday they have produced an image capturing some 84 million stars at our universe's core in a massive survey of the Milky Way.

The team's achievement at the Paranal observatory in northern Chile has been billed as the largest survey to date of stars in our galaxy—multi-gigapixel.

That makes it a whopping 10 times larger than the biggest earlier images, according to scientists at the (ESO).

It should help them better understand how our universe has changed over time, they said.

"By observing in detail the thousands of stars around the center of the Milky Way, we can learn much more about the formation and evolution, not only of our galaxy, but of spiral galaxies in general," said lead researcher Roberto Saito.

The ESO, a collaboration involving 15 mainly European countries, operates a number of high-powered telescopes in Chile, including the Very Large () in Paranal, the world's most advanced telescope.

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Lurker2358
1 / 5 (6) Oct 24, 2012
Sad how limiting out technologies really are.

It'll be a few more generations before an affordable computer could even hold a truly accurate star map of the entire galaxy in it's memory, even if we had telescopes good enough to make a true 3-d star map of the galaxy.

What we have here is just a higher resolution version of the same old tired 2-d projection of a 3-d system. So it's better than nothing and better than what they had before, yet it is wholly a misrepresentation of reality, losing many of it's fundamental characteristics.

Needs orbiting, multi-spectral telescope arrays so one can "see behind" what the other cannot, through combinations of depth perception, tetration, and varying spectra of light, and map it into a 3-d model of what is, or at least what appears to be, rather than 2-d projections.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (4) Oct 24, 2012
Consider this.

In order to map all the stars and all their planets as we discover them in a spherical coordinate system and give their apparent magnitude and composition and mass, and apparent direction of motion, etc, requires a minimum of about 40 bytes for each star, plus a new data entry for each known planet orbiting that star and about 40 bytes of data per planet (minimum) just to have the most rudimentary of galactic maps.

And if every star averages 3 planets, that would be an average of 160 bytes per star, and since there are supposedly 200 billion to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way, then mapping them all in a database would require a minimum of around 64 terabytes in order to produce the database for a "Star Wars episode 2" style 3-d map of the galaxy, and this is ignoring more extended objects such as oort clouds, asteroid belts and nebulae, which are far more numerous and complicated to describe than the stars themselves.
marble89
1 / 5 (4) Oct 24, 2012
"64 terabytes "
And that is just the data. The associated metadata might be many times this
Frostiken
1 / 5 (3) Oct 25, 2012
64 terabytes and the processing required for it is hardly an insurrmountable hurdle. Maybe for your home PC but there's supercomputers that can already handle this dozens of times over.

64 TB of storage is already conceivably within the grasp of home consumers in the next decade or so. There's already 4TB drives hitting the market which was thought of as absurdly large just a few years ago.
Frostiken
2.3 / 5 (4) Oct 25, 2012
I also wanted to add that an accurate map of the Milky Way simply cannot happen anyway, since we can't see the vast majority of it.
wavettore
1 / 5 (4) Oct 25, 2012
New and old Science

A new and Progressive Science shows how Wavevolution, or the transformation from waves to atoms, is the connecting link that closes the circle of science to open our eyes toward new horizons never seen before.

The bureaucracy of traditional science prevents the recognition of any event unless certain criteria are first met. The problem of this science is buried deep in the compilation of these "laws" or criteria introduced by a few scientists in the name of all science and from their erroneous understanding of the relation between Space and Time. This antiquated system of rules also results in misleading theories.
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (4) Oct 25, 2012
The Milky Way contains at least 100 billion stars (the number of people who ever lived on the Earth) and may have up to 400 billion stars. The 84 millions of indexed stars is still less than 0.02% of the total amount.