Stunning images of the Andromeda Galaxy are among the first to emerge from a new wide-field camera installed on the enormous Subaru Telescope atop the Hawaiian mountain Mauna Kea. The camera, called the Hyper-Suprime Cam (HSC), is the result of an international collaboration between Princeton University astrophysicists and Japanese and Taiwanese scientists.
With this new camera, researchers will be able to conduct a “cosmic census” of hundreds of millions of galaxies in a wide swath of sky in sufficient depth to probe mysteries such as dark matter and dark energy, while searching for baby galaxies in the early universe. The images of the Andromeda Galaxy demonstrate the new camera’s ability to capture images for a large-scale survey that will help scientists understand the evolutionary history and fate of the expanding universe. The camera’s enormous field of view allowed the entire Andromeda Galaxy, which is some 60,000 light years across, to be captured in a single shot. (more…)