Hey, Saturn, take a selfie! World's biggest digital camera will photograph the universe

The 3.2-gigapixel digital camera will weigh around 3 tons and be the size of a small car

Details of the universe will come into sharper focus thanks to a powerful, new camera the U.S. government is funding.

The U.S. Department of Energy has approved construction of a 3.2-gigapixel digital camera that will aid in collecting several million gigabytes of data every year and help scientists better understand the universe.

The camera will serve as the eyes of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which, beginning in 2022, will start photographing the southern sky at night from a mountain in Chile.

Over the course of a decade, the telescope will detect more galaxies than there are people on the Earth and observe tens of billions of objects, the DOE's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory said Monday. The DOE is paying for the camera's construction while the National Science Foundation is funding the telescope and its site facilities and database system.

This will be the world's largest and most powerful digital camera, the SLAC said, adding that it will weigh around 3 tons and be the size of a small car.

Information gathered by the camera will aid scientists research how the galaxy was formed, view exploding stars and better understand dark matter and dark energy, which comprise a majority of the universe, among other uses.

The images taken by the camera will be at such a high resolution, it would take 1,500 high-definition televisions just to view one of them. One shot taken with the camera will record a section of sky that's almost 40 times the size of the moon.

The camera will have a mechanism for changing its filter. Different filters will allow the camera to capture different wavelengths, ranging from near-ultraviolet to near-infrared.

The SLAC in Menlo Park, California, will build and test the camera, a process that's expected to take five years. Various universities and labs from across the globe will build the camera's components.

The SLAC is also building the database that will store the data captured by the telescope, an amount that will total 6 million gigabytes per year.

Work is already underway on building the camera's sensors and contracts for constructing its optics and other critical parts are being issued.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Fred O'Connor

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?