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World's Largest Digital Sky Survey releases the largest ever astronomical data release ever



The Pan-STARRS Observatory is a 1.8-meter telescope located at the top of Haleakalā on Maui, Hawaii. For four years since May 2010, the Pan-STARRS Observatory has studied the entire three-quarters of Hawaii's visible sky in many colors of light. One of the survey's objectives was to search for moving objects and temporary or variable objects, including asteroids, that could potentially endanger the earth. Picture credits: R. Ratkowski

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, publishes the second edition of Pan-STARRS data – the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response – in collaboration with the Department of Astronomy of the University of Hawaii (IfA) System – the world's largest digital sky survey. This second version contains more than 1.6 petabytes of data (a petabyte is 10 15 bytes or a million gigabytes), making it the largest volume of astronomical information ever released. The amount of imaging data is equivalent to two billion selfies or 30,000 times the total textual content of Wikipedia. The catalog data is 15 times the volume of the Library of Congress.

The Pan-STARRS Observatory consists of a 1.8-meter telescope equipped with a 1.4 billion pixel digital camera located at the top of Haleakalā on Maui. Designed and developed by the IfA, in May 2010 the company carried out a digital survey of the sky in visible and near infrared light. Pan-STARRS was the first survey that observed the whole of Hawai'i's visible sky in many colors several times light. One of the survey's objectives was to identify moving, transient, and variable objects, including asteroids, that could potentially endanger the Earth. The survey took about four years, and the sky was scanned 12 times in five filters. This second data release provides access to all individual engagements for each epoch for the first time. This allows astronomers and public users of the archive to search the entire survey for high-energy explosive events in the cosmos, discover moving objects in our own solar system and explore the time domain of the universe.

Dr. Heather Flewelling, a researcher at the Institute for Astronomy in Hawai'i, and one of the key designers of the PS1 database, said, "Pan-STARRS DR2 is a huge amount of astronomical data and already contains many great discoveries, these discoveries are just but you scarcely scratch the surface of what is possible, and the astronomical community will now be able to dig deep, break down the data, and find the astronomical treasures we can not even imagine. "[19659006] "We put the universe in a box and everyone can take a look," said database engineer Conrad Holmberg.

This image is a mosaic of sky photographs from the Pan-STARRS observatory. a 1.8 meter telescope on the top of Haleakalā on Maui. The center of the circle is the northern celestial pole, and the outer edge is a declination of the sky of -30 degrees. At this point, the Pan-STARRS survey was discontinued (because, as seen in Hawai'i, it reached the southern horizon). The bright band that extends from top to bottom is our Milky Way. The center of the galaxy is near the bottom of the picture, where the galaxy is the brightest. Altogether, Pan-STARRS cataloged more than 800 million objects in this picture. The image includes both stars and galaxies, although most of what is visible are objects in the Milky Way. In the Milky Way, dark filaments and clouds show cosmic dust that absorbs blue light and makes the objects look much redder. The Pan-STARRS data was used to generate the best map of the dust of our galaxy by analyzing the colors and magnitudes of these stars. Photo credits: R. White (STScI) and the PS1 Science Consortium

The four-year data includes 3 billion separate sources, including stars, galaxies, and various other objects. This research program was conducted by the PS1 Science Consortium, a collaboration of ten research institutes in four countries, with support from NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Observations of the consortium for the Sky survey were completed in April 2014. The first publication of public data of Pan-STARRS took place in December 2016, but included only the combined data rather than the individual exposures at each epoch.

"The Pan-STARRS1 With the survey, anyone can access millions of images and catalogs that contain precision measurements of billions of stars, galaxies, and moving objects," Dr. Ken Chambers, Director of Pan-STARRS Observatories. "In the search for objects near Earth, Pan-STARRS has made many discoveries, as Oumuamua traversed our solar system to lonely planets between the stars, mapped the dust in three dimensions in our galaxy, and found new stellar streams New types of exploding stars and distant quasars found in the early Universe We hope that people in this incredibly large and rich set of data will discover all sorts of things that we have missed. "

The Space Telescope Science Institute houses the storage hardware Computers that handle the database queries and the user-friendly interfaces for accessing the data. The survey data are stored in the Mikulski Space Telescope Archive (MAST), which serves as NASA's repository for all optical and ultraviolet light observations, some of which date back to the early 1970s. It contains all observational data from space astrophysics missions such as Hubble, Kepler, GALEX and a variety of other telescopes as well as several all-sky surveys. Pan-STARRS marks the nineteenth mission archived in MAST.


Explore further:
Astronomers publish the largest digital survey of the visible universe

Further information:
The Pan-STARRS1 surveys and their science archive were funded by contributions from the Institute of Astronomy, the University of Hawai'i, the Pan-STARRS Project Office, the Max Planck Society and its participating institutes, the Max Planck Institute , Astronomy, Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Johns Hopkins University, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, the Queen's University of Belfast, the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA), the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network Incorporated, the National Central University of Taiwan, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the grant number NNX08AR22G, through the Planetary Science Division of NASA The Science Mission Directorate, National Science Foundation Fellowship AST-1238877, the University of Maryland, Eōtvōs Loránd University (ELTE), the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundations have been issued.

Provided by:
ESA / Hubble Information Center


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