If you’ve ever lamented over how your pores look in a high-res photo, then you might want to avoid having your picture taken by the Stanford SLAC laboratory’s ultra-sensitive, 3.2 billion-pixel camera.
Space scientists plan to use this SUV-sized camera to take huge, sweeping pictures of the southern sky as part of something called the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST).
The survey will help scientists literally see our universe better than ever before and help them resolve some of astronomy’s big mysteries, like how galaxies evolve, and how theories about dark matter and energy collide with reality.
But before the camera makes its final journey from Northern California to Chile’s Rubin Observatory, the Stanford team snapped a few practice shots.
These 3,200-megapixel photos of intricate (albeit it, strictly terrestrial) objects like a head of romanesco are the largest single photos ever taken.
A picture of a vegetable may not sound like the most exciting development, but Vincent Riot, the survey’s camera project manager at the Department of Defense’s Livermore National Laboratory, said in a statement that these first photos represent an incredibly important step toward demonstrating how the camera will fair when photographing space.
“This is a huge milestone for us,” said Riot. “The focal plane will produce the images for the LSST, so it’s the capable and sensitive eye of the Rubin Observatory.”