Researchers are developing the world’s largest digital camera at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, with the aim of installing it at the Rubin Observatory in Chile. After the build’s completion, it will be able to produce panoramic images of the sky with a quality never seen before.
Although it is not finished yet, that does not mean that researchers cannot take advantage of it. The SLAC team has decided to use the camera’s sensors to break all resolution records in digital photography.
The researchers have achieved a very important milestone in photography by taking detailed images of up to 3,200 megapixels, the largest so far. The images are so large that 378 4K resolution televisions would be required to display just one in its entirety.
The possibilities are enormous, and if these sensors were used to capture a conventional photo, we could see a golf ball at a distance of more than 15 miles.
These photos were not taken for fun, but to calibrate and verify that the sensors were working properly, including a test of the camera’s focal plane. They are necessary tests before installation in the telescopes in Chile.
In this way, the researchers have been able to verify that the sensors work and capture images as expected; it is considered one of the most significant achievements of the entire project.
Although this is technically a digital camera, it differs a lot from the ones we use every day on our smartphones. It consists of 189 individual sensors, each capable of capturing 16 megapixels, the same as a conventional mobile camera, or a selfie camera.
The result is a 3.2 billion pixel camera, each absurdly small, about 10 microns in length. The focal plane is very flat, with variations of just one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. Thanks to this, it is possible to capture very sharp images.
Due to the size of the photos, the team has developed a web application that allows you to view all these highly detailed images through the following external links: