Haleakalā Telescope Completes World’s Largest Digital Sky Survey
The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy, in conjunction with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, is releasing the second edition of data from Pan-STARRS. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System is the world’s largest digital sky survey.
This second release contains more than 1.6 petabytes of data, making it the largest volume of astronomical information ever released–that’s 15 times the volume of the Library of Congress.
The Pan-STARRS observatory consists of a 1.8-meter telescope equipped with a 1.4 billion pixel digital camera, located at the summit of Haleakalā on Maui.
“Pan-STARRS DR2 represents a vast quantity of astronomical data, with many great discoveries already unveiled,” said Heather Flewelling, IfA researcher and a key designer of the PS1 database. “These discoveries just barely scratch the surface of what is possible, however, and the astronomy community will now be able to dig deep, mine the data and find the astronomical treasures within that we have not even begun to imagine.”
Pan-STARRS was the first survey to observe the entire sky visible from Hawaiʻi multiple times in many colors of light. One of the survey’s goals was to identify moving, transient, and variable objects, including asteroids that could potentially threaten the Earth. The survey took approximately four years to complete.