Stanford Researchers Take a World-First 3,200 Megapixel Photo

You'll need 378 4K ultra-high definition screens to display this photo in full size. Imagine being able to see a golf ball from 15 miles away. Its low-light capabilities can also spot objects 100 million times dimmer than what we can see with the human eye.

The reason for its creation is to study dark matter and to film the "largest astronomical movie of all time" and it will be installed in Stanford's Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) telescope in Chile. 

Taking the first 3,200-megapixel images was an important first test for the focal plane. To do so without a fully assembled camera, the SLAC team used a 150-micron pinhole to project images onto the focal plane. (Greg Stewart/Jacqueline Orrell/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

The camera has 189 sensors, which are called charge-coupled devices (CCDs) that each have 16 megapixels, and it is now the largest digital camera in the world. 

What's interesting is that it contains 3.2 billion pixels, which are all very small. This is different to the latest release of the Sony a7S III which contains larger pixels to perform in low light conditions. But, it gives you high resolution, which is what they are aiming for here. 

Individual imaging sensors and supporting electronics of the LSST Camera’s focal plane are packaged into units, called “rafts.” (Farrin Abbott/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

Over 10 years, the camera will collect images of about 20 billion galaxies. 

Over the next few months, the LSST Camera team will integrate the remaining camera components, including the lenses, a shutter and a filter exchange system. By mid-2021, the SUV-sized camera will be ready for final testing. (Chris Smith/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

You can explore some of the images taken with the focal plane of the camera in full resolution. Click + and - to zoom in and out. For an explanation of the images you can read up here

See this image in high resolution here

See this image in high resolution here

You can read up about this on the Standford SLAC website

All images used with permission.

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6 Comments

Lee Christiansen's picture

But does it overheat if I film at full resolution for 20 minutes...? Because if it does, I'm not buying one... :)

Rick Rizza's picture

Is it available for pre-order in B&H?

Spy Black's picture

So much for that 90 meg Canon then...

El Dooderino's picture

I find stuff like this fascinating.

Can't wait to see some of the images from space!