Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Forget Megapixels: Here Comes the Gigapixel Sky Camera

The Pan-Starrs-1 telescope will scan the skies for asteroids and comets that could wipe out life on Earth.

By Diego CupoloApril 3, 2009 5:00 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

To help Earth’s inhabitants avoid the fate of the dinosaurs and the Clovis people, researchers with the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-Starrs) have developed the world’s largest digital camera, which can capture 1.4 billion pixels, to scan the skies for approaching asteroids or comets. The camera is scheduled to begin its search this month with the Pan-Starrs-1 telescope in Haleakala, Hawaii.

Pan-Starrs will repeatedly scan the same portions of the sky to look for changes, such as the supernova discovered during the telescope’s test runs last fall. And if an asteroid is detected hurtling toward Earth, scientists and engineers are still working on ways to use spacecraft to alter its orbit.

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In