US astronomers revealed a remarkable catalog of 3.32 billion items in a vast area of the Milky Way Galaxy’s plane. This unprecedented catalogue was created by a new survey. This means that each object can be used for scientific observations. It’s like having a large photograph with 3.32 billion people. Each person can be easily identified. It’s unbelievable!
This link provides a full resolution panoramic image as well as a catalog. This is the second edition of a survey using the Dark Energy Camera (DECaPS2), which was built by the US Department of Energy at NSF Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory Chile in the NOIRLab program. It is absurd to conceal such data. Scientists will analyze these data for many decades. Even this much information is not enough. This survey only covered 6.5% of the Milky Way plane, but there will be many more.
The DECaPS2 Sky Survey, an optical and near-infrared study of the Milky Way in the southern skies, is called the DECaPS2 Sky Survey. In 2017, the first batch of DECaPS data were published. With the addition of new data the survey now covers 6.5%. It also covers an impressive 130 degree area. Although this may seem modest, it is 13,000 times the angular area of the full moon.
Over 10 TB of data was collected from 21,400 individual exposures over the course of DECaPS2’s two-year operation. This observation allowed for the identification of 3.32 billion objects. It is possibly the largest ever catalog created using a single camera. And after all, not the largest telescope was used for this yet – only with the 4th Víctor M. Blanco mirror at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO).
This observation was the first to use algorithms to separate the object from its background. Near and faraway stars can be superimposed on one another. The location of stars in the background of luminous galaxyes makes it difficult to separate the objects. Finally, dust clouds cannot be seen in the visible electromagnetic wave range. This made it necessary to observe the near infrared spectrum. The DECaPS2 catalog, which was unprecedented in detail, was born as a result. Combining these observations with others, we are improving our ability to represent a three-dimensional map for our galaxy. A good map is the first step to a real journey.