Feeds

Boffins release 44-MEEELLION-star Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Longitudinal sky survey finds 250,000 objects have changed over 60 years

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Anglo-Australian boffins have published a new survey of the northern sky that describes 44 million stellar objects and finds 250,000 have changed in the last 60 years.

Dubbed “A Precision Multi-band Two-epoch Photometric Catalog of 44 Million Sources in the Northern Sky from a Combination of the USNO-B and Sloan Digital Sky Survey Catalogs”, the new survey does what it says on the can: combine the USNO-B and Sloan Digital Sky Survey Catalogs into one new document. The interesting bit is that images in the USNO-B (USNO=US Naval Observatory) survey, available here, date back as far as 1949. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey concluded in 2008.

The boffins concerned mashed up the two surveys to find 44 million objects – either stars or galaxies – that appear in both surveys, then compared the two. The survey sounds like a Big Data problem if ever there was one: processing the combined data sets took a year.

The USNO-B sky survey

Part of the USNO-B Sky Survey

After comparing them all with what a canned statement calls “clever computer algorithms,” the researchers found about 250,000 objects changed brightness significantly over the 1949-2008 span of the surveys they worked with. That's about 0.6 per cent of the stars sampled (and the sample is only about 35 per cent of the entire sky).

The boffins involved, Professor Bryan Gaensler from the University of Sydney and Cambridge's Dr Greg Madsen, plan to make their data available to the public to facilitate future longitudinal studies of the cosmos. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.