Seeing the Big Picture
Imagine having eyes as powerful as a telescope. You would be able to see deep into space. Even a tiny portion of the sky would be filled with stars of our galaxy and the light of distant galaxies. Your view would give you the Big Picture.
The Big Picture is a 2.46-gigapixel astronomical image made from telescope data processed and custom-made for Griffith Observatory.
To connect with the Big Picture site at Caltech, click here.
Noted science writer Carolyn Collins Petersen (who also wrote all the Observatory’s exhibit copy) posted an excellent videocast (posted by The Universe Today) about the image that comprises The Big Picture. To view the videocast, please click here.
The People Behind the Big Picture
The Big Picture is the work of astronomers, data-processing experts, and imaging scientists from Caltech, Yale, and Palomar Observatory, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This image is part of the Palomar-Quest survey, which churns out a million megabytes of sky data per month.
The team behind the Big Picture includes (l to r):
S. Cianciulli, C. Donalek, M. Graham, A. Bauer, M. Bogosavlijevic, R. Williams, S. G. Djorgovski (team leader), A. Drake, R. Bogosavlijevic, C. Baltay, L. Maxfield, and A. Mahabal; not shown: D. Rabinowitz.
Combining Camera and Telescope
The images that make up the Big Picture were taken with the Palomar-Quest camera on the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego. The camera is one of the largest detectors ever built to survey the sky. It has 112 CCD chips at its heart and scans the sky in 4.6-degree-wide strips.
The Samuel Oschin Telescope is one of Palomar’s most productive telescopes. Throughout its history, this 48-inch (1.2-m) reflector has produced extremely detailed panoramic sky surveys.