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

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.