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Spacecraft's billion-pixel camera to spot 10 new planets per day
DVICE ^ | 7/6/11 | Evan Ackerman

Posted on 07/08/2011 2:40:12 AM PDT by LibWhacker

In 2013, the European Space Agency will launch the Gaia spacecraft. Its billion-pixel imaging sensor will be among the largest digital cameras ever to exist, and over the course of its mission, it's estimated that Gaia will detect 15,000 new alien planets.

Gaia's gigantic sensor is comprised of 106 separate CCD detectors, mosaiced together to form a monster camera over three feet wide. The resulting imaging system is so powerful that it will be able to precisely measure the width of a hair from over 600 miles away, and from here on Earth, it could spot a dime on the moon.

Hair measuring and dime spotting are not what Gaia is going to be spending her time at, of course. The spacecraft will spend five years creating a three dimensional map of our entire galaxy, including, oh, about a thousand million stars or so. Along the way, it's expected to detect (on average) 250 quasars, 30 brown dwarfs, 10 stars with planets orbiting them, and 10 stars exploding in other galaxies - every day. It's numbers like this that make you realize just how stupendously gigantic the universe really is, and we'll start seeing brand new pics of the place back from Gaia sometime in 2013.

ESA Gaia, via NetworkWorld


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: billion; camera; gaia; pixel
Passed up by Europeans. Oh, the humility! Thanks, gobs, Zero, you retarded chimp.
1 posted on 07/08/2011 2:40:21 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

The near earth objects should be watched as well IMO. This rock is due IMO.


2 posted on 07/08/2011 2:46:56 AM PDT by allmost
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To: LibWhacker

...”it’s estimated that Gaia will detect 15,000 new alien planets.”

Alien planets? There are no “alien” planets. They might be independent of our solar system but that wouldn’t make them alien to the Milky Way or to the universe.


3 posted on 07/08/2011 3:04:36 AM PDT by equaviator ("There's a (datum) plane on the horizon coming in...see it?")
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To: LibWhacker

10 planets a day?
Only if they all orbit in 0.5 days. One orbit to detect, one to confirm.


4 posted on 07/08/2011 3:10:54 AM PDT by MAexile (Bats left, votes right)
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To: LibWhacker

5 posted on 07/08/2011 3:10:54 AM PDT by Daffynition ("Don't just live your life, but witness it also.")
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To: LibWhacker

A billion-pixel camera...

Gonna take a whoppin big SD card for that thing!

Better check the specials at Newegg.. :-)


6 posted on 07/08/2011 3:18:35 AM PDT by Bobalu ( "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother." ..Moshe Dayan:)
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To: Daffynition

Your minkey. Do you have a lee-zance for your minkey?


7 posted on 07/08/2011 3:20:41 AM PDT by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: Daffynition

Poignant pic. The aliens, if intelligent, would most likely view us as such.


8 posted on 07/08/2011 3:22:22 AM PDT by allmost
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To: allmost

Or they might view us as a hot dog.


9 posted on 07/08/2011 3:28:08 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: driftdiver
I've had some good hot dogs, but interstellar travel for one? Hmmm... not yet
10 posted on 07/08/2011 3:38:44 AM PDT by allmost
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To: allmost

Or they might be like chess prodigies- brilliant at one thing (interstellar spaceflight, in this case) and flummoxed by the simplest of things that we find trivial.

We only have one data point upon which to base our estimates.

A hive-minded culture might waste its time looking everywhere for the giant Human grand-ant that controls everything, while thugs in the hood are boosting the hubcaps off of their landing vehicles and rolling them in alley-ways.

Guess we find out when we find out. :-)


11 posted on 07/08/2011 3:41:09 AM PDT by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: Riley
We will find out eventually. Even if it takes forever.
The whole sentient hive mind concept makes my back tense-up a bit. We seem to be working on that here if I am not mistaken.
12 posted on 07/08/2011 3:47:42 AM PDT by allmost
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To: allmost

Too bad we won’t be able to afford the electricity to plug our Ipods in to see the pics...


13 posted on 07/08/2011 3:52:40 AM PDT by Shady (Capitalism works for men who do. Socialism works for men who don’t The numbers do not lie.)
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To: Riley

Zat is not my minkey.


14 posted on 07/08/2011 3:56:13 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Amber Lamps !"~~)
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To: allmost

Agreed on all points.

I’ll be interested to see what sort of exoplanetary imagery comes out of this camera, though. I hope they take some warm up shots of the Apollo 11 landing site. I’ve seen some low-res ones recently of the various Apollo sites- the A14 site shows an astronaut ‘footpath’ between the lander’s lower stage and the deployed science package.


15 posted on 07/08/2011 3:58:42 AM PDT by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: Riley
I'm interested to see anything right about now. Dems killed everything in 2006 when they took over spending. We are left with 'muslim outreach' as NASA's goal.

The pics will be extraordinary no doubt. A few footprint pics would be pretty cool.
16 posted on 07/08/2011 4:13:29 AM PDT by allmost
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To: Shady
Personal electrical generation is not that hard. You need materials and the will to do it. Expect a few downtimes :).
The grid's juice is what carries your ipod, as well as the info over it. We have the energy.
17 posted on 07/08/2011 4:31:16 AM PDT by allmost
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To: allmost
I'm interested to see anything right about now. Dems killed everything in 2006 when they took over spending. We are left with 'muslim outreach' as NASA's goal.

There's a sad irony here- in Conservatives being so often sneered at by Libs for being 'intellectually incurious'.

18 posted on 07/08/2011 4:31:44 AM PDT by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: Riley

There's a sad irony here- in Conservatives being so often sneered at by Libs for being 'intellectually incurious'.

Exactly. Beyond irony though I've always thought of the Left's sickness being exclusionary self-obsession and fear of objective consciousness. A Dark Ages kind of thing. We call it Lefego at the Institute.

Johnny Suntrade

19 posted on 07/08/2011 4:49:54 AM PDT by jnsun (The Left: the need to manipulate others because of nothing productive to offer.)
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To: Riley
Most conservative principles are based in reality. Conservatives, as a generalization, are by their nature ‘intellectually curious’.
20 posted on 07/08/2011 4:53:34 AM PDT by allmost
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To: LibWhacker

This makes me very angry!

21 posted on 07/08/2011 5:06:09 AM PDT by McGruff (Why do they fear her so?)
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To: McGruff
This makes me very angry!

LOL! Thanks so much for the stirring of very fond memories of my childhood this morning. That was a nice remembrance, with which to start a Friday.
22 posted on 07/08/2011 5:14:48 AM PDT by ZX12R
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To: Riley
HAHAHA! Yes... a Chimpanzee Minkey
23 posted on 07/08/2011 6:55:52 AM PDT by Daffynition ("Don't just live your life, but witness it also.")
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