Stanford Builds World’s Largest Digital Camera

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory of Stanford University has just taken their first 3200 megapixel digital photo using their new imaging sensors. This image is the largest ever photo taken by any digital camera in a single shot. Sadly though these sensors will not be available for public usage any time soon. Contrary to that it will be installed at the future camera at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory located in Chile.

This array of sensors will take images so high in resolution that it will take 378 ultra high definition 4K television just to display one image at its native size. To put things in perspective, you can see a golf ball 15 miles away from this camera. It was possible to build such camera using 189 imaging sensors. Not so surprisingly, this digital camera will be used for astrophysical research.

The 3.2K Megapixel Image SensorThe 3200 Megapixel Image Sensor. © Jacqueline Orrell/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Interesting enough that the camera body for this sensor is still being constructed at the SLAC. Once these sensors are in it’s place, it will be able to produce panoramic images of the Southern Sky. It is being expected that this camera will be in service for at least next 10 years and will take pictures on regular interval.

The eventual purpose of this large imaging sensor is to take huge number of images of the galaxies, planetary bodies and others for a certain period of time and observe them to better understand how those objects are evolving. This knowledge will help scientists to test their models of dark matter and dark energy.

Now here is an interesting time-lapse video that shows how this large array of imaging sensors has been built.

The first image that was taken by these sensors was a test for the camera’s focal plane. This focal plane is little over 2 feet wide and it’s surface is extremely flat varying no more than one tenth of the width of a human hair. On a press release published today, Stanford has confirmed that the assembly of this plane had been completed back in January at the SLAC.

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