By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Science
Tech giant Microsoft says it has produced the largest and clearest image of the night sky ever -- and it's a terapixel in size.
Tech and research giant Microsoft says it has produced the largest and clearest image of the night sky ever -- and it's a terapixel in size.
How big is a terapixel, you ask? 1,000,000,000,000 pixels, or a million megapixels. (To compare, most consumer digital SLR cameras shoot photos around 10 megapixels.)
Microsoft's aptly-named Terapixel project digitally stitched together 1,791 pairs of red-light and blue-light images (in 14,000 by 14,000-pixel resolution!) from the Palomar telescope in California and the UK Schmidt telescope in New South Wales, Australia.
The project required crunching all the image data collected by the Digitized Sky Survey over the last 50 years. The high-performance computer that did it was made up of 64 compute nodes, each with a quad-core Intel Xeon CPU with 16 GB RAM and 1.7 TB of storage.
The RGB images took five hours of computing to produce, three hours to digitally stitch together and four hours to optimize (and remove the seams).
The result? A brilliant demonstration of how a supercomputer can be used for astronomy, bioinformatics and environmental sciences.
Microsoft announced the image on July 13 at its annual Research Faculty Summit.
Image: The Milky Way, before and after Terapixel. (Microsoft)
Jul 19, 2010
Typical - seemingly intelligent people deriding others because they ask a question. Perhaps an astronomer *did* see something in the enhanced images that sent her off to thinking in a different direction. We just haven't seen the result yet.....
Typical - some people think a thing is only useful if it produces immediate results. No - it's revealed new details and put existing details together in a new way which will be pored over by professionals and amateurs alike for decades to come. During that time they will notice little details that set them thinking. That thinking will lead to new ideas that will need to be tested with new observations, and in the end there may well be some very radical results. But to expect it to have already "revealed any new details that have changed astronomer's ways of thinking"? Get real!