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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
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.
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.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.