WEBSITE OF THE DAY - SDS III

“Oh my God - it’s full of stars!”

Film buffs will get the reference to Kubrick's sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey straight away, but some might wonder what we’re going on about.

It’s the latest extraordinary release from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey at www.sdss3.org, which stitches together some 7 million high resolution images of the night sky to offer us the chance to look at a detailed map of our nearby galaxies and universe for the first time.

The images are available to astronomers (both professional and serious hobbyists) to study and the detail is quite astonishing when you zoom in. We didn’t actually download the whole thing though - we’re not sure our hard drives could‘ve coped!

The site itself tells the story of the surveys carried out over the past few years and links through to the data gathered by each of them.

If you’re a stargazer, this is well worth a visit. And not a single psychotic master computer in sight either.

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