Feeds

ESA unveils billion pixel camera that will map the Milky Way

That’s not a camera: this is the camera

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The European Space Agency has announced the completion of the camera that’s to be used in its Gaia mission: a billion-pixel mosaic comprising 106 individual CCDs in a 0.5x1 meter array.

Assembled in May and June at Astrium’s facility in Toulouse, the camera is designed to map around a billion stars when Gaia’s five-year mission begins in 2013. The CCDs were developed by UK company e2v Technologies, with each measuring 4.7x6cm.

The stereoscopic camera will have two 51-device arrays set at 106.5 degrees to each other, with four CCDs watching over image quality and the offset of the telescopes. The telescopes are divided into four functions, with fields dedicated to star mapping, position and motion (to be captured in 3D), colour and intensity, and spectrometry.

Like its predecessor missions, the Herschel and Planck space telescopes, Gaia will be stationed at the L2 Lagrange point a million-and-a-half kilometres from Earth, where the balance between orbital movement and gravitational forces will let the spaceship "hover". This location means the scientists will get a more stable view than if the spaceship is orbiting Earth.

Gaia will be able to sample 1 percent of the stars in the Milky Way, and is also expected to pick up information about more local objects such as asteroids, right out to distant quasars and “edge-of-the-universe” galaxies.

The mission will be launched on a Soyuz-STB/Fregat rocket from French Guiana.

The European Space Agency has images and a design animation here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.