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The camera captures the South Pinwheel galaxy in brilliant details

Originally designed for the Dark Energy Survey, the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) captures one of the deepest images ever taken of the spiral galaxy Messiah 83, playfully known as the Southern Pinwheel. Did. Built by the US Department of Energy, DECam is Víctor M of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), a program of NSF’s NOIR Lab. It is mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope. Credit: NOIRlab

Astronomy enthusiasts may wonder why a camera called the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) is used to image a single spiral galaxy. DECam has actually already done its main job, as the equipment was used to complete the 2013-2019 Dark Energy Survey. Like many people, DECam remains occupied rather than enjoying a quiet retirement. Thanks to the Astro Data Archive of the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC) program at NSF’s NOIR Lab, members of the astronomical community can request time to use it, and the collected data is processed and published. The continuous operation of DECam enables such gorgeous and detailed images.


The Messiah 83, or Southern Pinwheel, is located in the constellation south of Hydra and is a clear target for beautiful astronomical images. It is arranged so that it faces almost completely in front of the earth, so you can observe the spiral structure in detail. The galaxy is about 15 million light-years away and is an astronomical neighbor. It’s about 50,000 light-years in diameter, so it’s a little smaller than our Milky Way, which is 100,000 to 200,000 light-years in diameter. But in other ways, the Southern Pinwheel probably gives a good approximation of what our Milky Way looks like to a distant alien civilization.

Six different filters were used in DECam to create this magnificent new view of classic beauty. Filters allow astronomers to select the wavelength of light they want to see in the sky. This is important for scientific observations where astronomers need very specific information about objects, but it is also possible to create such colorful images. Observing celestial bodies such as Southern windmills with several different filters means that different details can be selected. For example, a dark tendril curling through a galaxy is actually a dust lane, blocking light. In contrast, clustered bright red spots are caused by glowing hot hydrogen gases, which identify them as star-forming hubs. Dusty roads and dynamic ionized gases have different temperatures and can be seen at different wavelengths. Filters allow you to observe both separately and then combine them into one complex image. With a total of 163 DECam exposures and a total exposure time of over 11.3 hours, I created this portrait of Messiah 83.

But these observations weren’t just about drawing beautiful pictures. They are helping NOIR Lab’s future program, Vera C. Rubin Observatory, prepare for future observations. The Rubin Observatory will operate for 10 years from 2023 to conduct unprecedented optical surveys of the visible sky. This is called the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). “Observations at Mesier 83 are part of an ongoing program to create a time-varying atlas in the nearby South Galaxy in preparation for a space-time legacy survey at the Rubin Observatory,” said Monica Solaisam of the University of Illinois. The principal says. Investigator of Mesier 83 observations by DECam. “We are generating a multicolored light curve of stars in this galaxy, which uses state-of-the-art software infrastructure like NOIRLab’s own to curb the onslaught of alerts expected from LSST. Used. ANTARES Alert Broker. ”

The DECam, built by the US Department of Energy (DOE), is Víctor M in CTIO, Chile. It is mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope. DECam is a powerful device that captures images using 74 Sensitive Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs). The CCD is the same device used to take pictures on everyday mobile phones. Of course, DECam’s CCDs are much larger and specially designed to collect very faint red light from distant galaxies. This feature was very important to DECam’s original purpose, the Dark Energy Survey. This ambitious survey investigated one of the most basic questions in the universe. Why does our universe not only expand, but at an accelerating rate? For six years, DECam has explored the sky, imaging the farthest galaxies to collect more data, allowing astronomers to further explore the accelerating universe. Taking such a beautiful image should seem much easier for DECam.

“DECam has achieved its original goal of completing the Dark Energy Survey, but it remains a valuable resource for the astronomical community, providing a panoramic view of objects like the Messiah 83 that delights the senses and promotes understanding of the universe. I’m catching it. ” Chris Davis, Program Director, NOIR Lab, National Science Foundation.


Dark energy camera takes the deepest picture of galaxy brothers ever


Provided by NOIR lab

Quote: The camera glorious details of the South Pinwheel Galaxy acquired on February 8, 2021 from https: //phys.org/news/2021-02-camera-captures-southern-pinwheel-galaxy.html (2021) February 8th)

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The camera captures the South Pinwheel galaxy in brilliant details

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