Global Satellite Catalogue Launched
Global Satellite Catalogue Launched

Global Satellite Catalogue Launched

Global Satellite Catalogue Launched

The world’s largest digital survey of the visible Universe, mapping billions of stars and galaxies, has been publicly released to the general public.
The data has been made available by the international Pan-STARRS project, which includes scientists from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, who have predicted that it will lead to new discoveries about the Universe, Eureka Alert reported Tuesday.
Astronomers and cosmologists used a 1.8-meter telescope at the summit of Haleakalā, on Maui, Hawaii, to repeatedly image three quarters of the visible sky over four years.

 Three billion sources
The data they have captured in the Pan-STARRS1 Surveys is made up of three billion separate sources, including stars, galaxies, and other space objects.
This immense collection of information contains two petabytes of computer data - equivalent to one billion selfies or one hundred times the total content of Wikipedia.
Pan-STARRS is hosted by the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, which is releasing the data alongside the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, USA.
The international collaboration also includes Queen’s University Belfast and the Universities of Durham and Edinburgh and is supported by NASA and the National Science Foundation. Durham’s contribution was funded by a generous donation from the Ogden Trust and Durham University.
Queen’s University Belfast Professor Stephen Smartt, who is Chair of the Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) Science Council, said: “We’ve worked on this project for more than five years at Queen’s and have found the most luminous distant explosions in the Universe and also nearby asteroids in our solar system.

 Digital survey
In May 2010, the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System, or Pan-STARRS, observatory embarked on a digital survey of the sky in visible and near infrared light.
This was the first survey with a goal of observing the sky very rapidly over and over again, looking for moving objects and transient or variable objects, including asteroids that could potentially threaten the Earth.
Dr Ken Chambers, Director of the Pan-STARRS Observatories, at the University of Hawaii, said: “The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogues containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies.
Static sky
The roll-out of the survey data is being done in two steps.
Today’s release is the “Static Sky” which provides an average value for the position, brightness and color for objects captured in the sky at individual moments in time.
In 2017, a second set of data will be released including catalogues and images from each of the individual snapshots that Pan-STARRS took of a given region of the sky.
Data from the Pan-STARRS1 surveys will be available online at panstarrs.stsci.edu.

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