Researchers at the Stanford University working under the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have taken the highest resolution 3,200-megapixel photos, using camera sensors that will be installed in the university’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) telescope at Chile.
The sensors, in combination with the telescope, will be used to study dark energy, dark matter, and as the researchers put it, create the “largest astronomical movie of all time.”
According to the researchers, these pictures are so large that it would take 378 4K ultra-high-definition TV screens to display one of them in full size. Since the resolution is super high, the sensors can easily capture dim objects other cameras can’t capture. The camera is capable enough to spot a golf ball from 15 miles away as well as objects 100 million times dimmer than what’s normally visible to the naked eye.
This sort of performance has been achieved by combining 189 sensors, known as charge-coupled devices (CCDs). Each CCD can measure 16 MP and the camera’s focal plane is made using a total of 21 rafts. Apart from this, it also has four specialty rafts, however, those are not used for imaging.
Every raft, worth up to $3 million apiece, was inserted into a grid for the focal plane over six months. All in all, the focal pane contains 3.2 billion pixels.