Experts have captured our Milky Way and its massive tapestry of about 3.32 billion celestial bodies in new detail and shared them with the world, in the largest catalog of its kind. The “giant” survey shows hundreds of billions of stars, shimmering star-forming regions, and towering dark clouds of dust and gas.
According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, it took two years to complete and produce more than 10 terabytes of data from 21,400 individual exposures of our galaxy, but despite its breadth, the survey still covers only 6.5% of the night sky.
The Dark Energy Camera (DECam) captured the stunning view on a telescope at the Cerro Tololo International Observatory in Chile, located at an altitude of 7,200 feet (2,200 meters). At such a vantage point, it gives astronomers an unparalleled view of the southern celestial hemisphere. This allowed DECam to capture the southern galactic region in such detail.
The technology works by recording images using five filters, each of which captures the sky with a different color of light.
The Dark Energy Camera Plane Survey (DECaPS2) is a catalog of the plane of the Milky Way as seen from the southern sky taken at optical and near-infrared wavelengths.
The first set of data from DECaPS was released in 2017, and with the addition of the new data version, it now spans 130 degrees.
Most of the stars and dust in the Milky Way lie in its disk, where the spiral arms reside, but while the mixture of stars and dust produces beautiful images, it also makes it difficult to observe the plane of the galaxy.