Record for the biggest map of the universe was held by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) covering one-third of the sky. A team at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Institute for Astronomy (IFA) has broken the record and now composed the new biggest 3D astronomical imaging book, including stars, galaxies, and quasars.
The astronomers made the archive using the data from UH’s Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System or Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) on Haleakalā.
Connecting three-quarters of the sky PS1 3π survey is the world’s largest deep multi-color optical survey. The PS1 3π survey doubles the area covered in the survey done in SDSS and it has also made bigger statistics and contains various areas missed by the SDSS. It is nearly 300 GB in size and can be explored by the MAST CasJobs SQL interface, or it can be downloaded as a computer-readable table.
Novel computational tools were also implemented by the astronomers in the archive to succeed in understanding which of the 3 billion objects are stars, galaxies, or quasars. The software even estimated the distance of the galaxies.
The team at the IFA collected publicly-available spectroscopic measurements that provide definitive object classifications and distances and it was then submitted to an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm. The AI worked with a “feedforward neural network” to accomplish an overall classification accuracy of 98.1% for galaxies, 97.8% for stars, and 96.6% for quasars. Distance estimated for galaxies has an accuracy of nearly 3%.
Robert Beck explained – “Utilizing a state-of-the-art optimization algorithm, we leveraged the spectroscopic training set of almost 4 million light sources to teach the neural network to predict source types and galaxy distances, while at the same time correcting for light extinction by dust in the Milky Way.”
István Szapudi acclaimed that “already, a preliminary version of this catalog, covering a much smaller area, facilitated the discovery of the largest void in the universe, the possible cause of the Cold Spot. The new, more accurate, and larger photometric redshift catalog will be the starting point for many future discoveries.”
Ken Chambers said that “This beautiful map of the universe provides one example of how the power of the Pan-STARRS big data set can be multiplied with artificial intelligence techniques and complementary observations.”
With time Pan-STARRS will gather more data and it will combine with artificial intelligence (AI) to discover numerous objects near to the earth and collect various information about our galaxy and the universe.
Source – hawaii.edu