The largest infra-red image of the sky ever taken has been released today by astronomers from the University of Nottingham
The image is a whopping 1.5 million mega pixels and has detected nearly two billion stars and galaxies. It is the culmination of over ten years work on an international project to image the northern sky in the infra-red part of the spectrum.
The image has been captured using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT). This is a 3.8m telescope located near the summit of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on Hawaii. The telescope is dedicated to observing the sky in the infrared part of the spectrum, giving astronomers a view of the processes which shape the formation of stars and galaxies at wavelengths invisible to human eyes.
Dr Simon Dye from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nottingham is the lead project scientist and is supported by Prof Andy Lawrence, principal investigator from the Institute for Astronomy at Edinburgh University.
Dr Dye says; “Releasing this image is a hugely exciting moment for astronomy. It gives the clearest view we have ever seen of the northern sky in the infra-red. This is a significant milestone, providing an important database with a high legacy value for astronmers in years to come.”
Completion of the project has been made possible by a partnership between the UK Science Technology and Facilities Council, the University of Hawaii, the University of Arizona, Lockheed Martin and NASA.
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