The 268-Megapixel Sensors Behind ESO's Astrophotography | Popular Photography

The 268-Megapixel Sensors Behind ESO's Astrophotography

The ESO's VLT Survey Telescope just started producing some incredible shots of the sky with its unique array of imaging sensors, and now we can finally see what the hardware looks like.

OmegaCAM

OmegaCAM

ESO/INAF-VST/OmegaCAM/O. Iwert

Earlier this week we saw the first images come out of the ESO's VST (that's the European Southern Observatory's VLT Survey Telescope), a new telescope taking stunning visual light photography of the heavens. All that light is soaked up by the enormous 268-megapixel sensor array you see here.

The VST uses a 720kg OmegaCAM camera to snap these shots, and in order to get the impressive 268-megapixel images, it uses an array of 32 CCD sensors that you can see in these shots. What about those extra four sensors placed on either side of the 8x4 main array? These extras are used to "control the guiding and active optics systems as well as many huge colour filters."

The OmegaCAM's so important that it has its own website, devoted to this monstrous camera which was built by a consortium of institutes from the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. The array is designed to record one square degree of night sky, recording an image at 16,000 pixels by 16,000 pixels, producing the unique 268-megapixel square photographs that we saw earlier this week.

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