Jan 30, 2019
A team of astronomers from the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii has released data from the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), the world’s largest digital sky survey. This second data release contains over 1.6 petabytes of data (a petabyte is one million gigabytes), making it the largest volume of astronomical information ever released. The amount of imaging data is equivalent to two billion selfies, or 30,000 times the total text content of Wikipedia. The data reside in the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) and are 15 times the volume of the Library of Congress.
This image is a mosaic of photographs taken by the Pan-STARRS Observatory. The center of the circle is the north celestial pole, and the outer edge is a sky declination of minus 30 degrees — the southern horizon as seen in Hawai’i. The bright band extending from top to bottom is our Milky Way Galaxy. The center of the galaxy is near the bottom edge of the image where the galaxy is brightest. In total, Pan-STARRS catalogued more than 800 million objects within this image. The image includes both stars and galaxies, although most of what is visible are objects in the Milky Way. In the plane of the Milky Way, dark filaments and clouds show cosmic dust, which absorbs blue light and makes the objects appear much redder. The Pan-STARRS data have been used to produce the best map of our Galaxy’s dust by analyzing the colors and brightnesses of these stars. Image credit: R. White, STScI / PS1 Science Consortium, Brooks Bays.
The Pan-STARRS Observatory is located at the summit of Haleakalā, on Maui, Hawai’i.
It embarked on a digital survey of the sky in visible and near-infrared light in May 2010.
Pan-STARRS was the first survey to observe the entire sky visible from Hawai’i multiple times in many colors of light.
One of its goals was to identify moving, transient, and variable objects, including asteroids that could potentially threaten the Earth.
The survey took approximately four years to complete, scanning the sky 12 times in five filters.
The second data release, Pan-STARRS DR2 , provides, for the first time, access to all of the individual exposures at each epoch of time.
This will allow astronomers and public users of the archive to search the full survey for high-energy explosive events in the cosmos, discover moving objects in our own Solar System, and explore the time domain of the Universe.
“Pan-STARRS DR2 represents a vast quantity of astronomical data, with many great discoveries already unveiled,” said Dr. Heather Flewelling, a researcher at the Institute for Astronomy in Hawai’i.
“These discoveries just barely scratch the surface of what is possible, however, and the astronomy community will now be able to dig deep, mine the data, and find the astronomical treasures within that we have not even begun to imagine.”
“We put the Universe in a box and everyone can take a peek,” added database engineer Conrad Holmberg.
The four years of the Pan-STARRS data comprise 3 billion separate sources, including stars, galaxies, and various other objects.
“The Pan-STARRS1 Survey allows anyone access to millions of images and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars, galaxies, and moving objects,” said Dr. Ken Chambers, Director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories.
“While searching for Near Earth Objects, Pan-STARRS has made many discoveries from ‘Oumuamua passing through our Solar System to lonely planets between the stars.”
“It has mapped the dust in three dimensions in our Galaxy and found new streams of stars.”
“And it has found new kinds of exploding stars and distant quasars in the early Universe.”
“We hope people will discover all kinds of things we missed in this incredibly large and rich dataset.”
Thanks to: http://www.sci-news.com