From Ross Andersen at The Atlantic: “How Big Data Is Changing Astronomy (Again)”


This is copyright protected, so just enough to pique your interest.

Apr 19 2012
Ross Andersen

This isn’t your grandfather’s stargazing: The amount of data we have on our universe is doubling every year thanks to big telescopes and better light detectors.

There are two reasons that astronomy is experiencing this accelerating explosion of data. First, we are getting very good at building telescopes that can image enormous portions of the sky. Second, the sensitivity of our detectors is subject to the exponential force of Moore’s Law…the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, scheduled to become operational in 2015, has a three-billion-pixel digital camera.”

The heart of this article is an interview by Mr. Andersen of Alberto Conti who works on the James Webb Space Telescope. In the interview Dr. Conti tells us, “…we are in a vastly different data regime in astronomy than we were even ten or fifteen years ago. Over the past 25 to 30 years, we have been able to build telescopes that are 30 times larger than what we used to be able to build….”

This is a great article, which will apparently not be in the print edition of the Atlantic Magazine, so, you know, get it here.

Please visit the full article. Feel free to read it more than once.

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert in Chile

The LSST. The effort to build the LSST is led by the LSST Corporation, a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation formed in 2003, with headquarters in Tucson, AZ. Financial support for LSST comes from the National Science Foundation with additional contributions from private foundation gifts, grants to universities, and in-kind support from Department of Energy laboratories and other LSST Member Institutions. In 2011, the LSST construction project was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).

When you are finished with the article, there are two videos which I will recommend and include here. They are both available on YouTube. Inside the Milky Way from National Geographics will give you a very good idea of what we have been able to accomplish until now. Extreme Astronomy from the BBC shows you a bitr of the future of where we are going. I hope that you will watch them and enjoy them.

Thanks to Ross Andersen for getting Astronomy out into the public.

Inside the Milky Way


Extreme Astronomy

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