Dark energy camera unveils unprecedented view of Milky Way

Stunning new image reveals 3.32 billion stars
<p>PHOTO: NOIRLab</p>

PHOTO: NOIRLab

A team of Harvard University astronomers, led by Andrew Saydjari, have employed a cutting-edge telescope instrument, the Dark Energy Camera, to capture an incredibly detailed image of the Milky Way galaxy.

The image, which spans just 6.5% of the night sky, boasts an impressive 3.32 billion individual stars, each one visible as a separate point of light.

This marks the largest catalog of stars ever assembled using just one camera, and a significant breakthrough in the field of astronomy.

The Dark Energy Camera, originally built for the Dark Energy Survey, a project that measured the expansion of the universe between 2013 and 2019, was used to take 12,400 photos in both visible and infrared light using a telescope located in Chile.

The camera’s near-infrared capabilities allowed the team to see through the clouds of dust that often obscure our view of the stars.

This wide strip of the Milky Way contains billions of celestial objects as part of the  Dark Energy Camera Plane Survey - PHOTO: NOIRLab
This wide strip of the Milky Way contains billions of celestial objects as part of the Dark Energy Camera Plane Survey - PHOTO: NOIRLab

However, even with this advanced technology, capturing such a detailed image of the Milky Way was a challenging task.

The galaxy’s disk is so full of stars that they often overlap in photographs, making it difficult to distinguish one star from another.

But the team persevered, using a data processing program that helped predict the background behind each star, making it easier to separate one star from another.

Dark energy camera

Milky Way

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