January 8, 2007 12:31 PM PST

Google developing search engine for uber-telescope

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

update Google has signed on to develop a search engine for what will be one of the most powerful telescopes in the world.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Project, slated for completion by 2013, is a 3-billion pixel camera/telescope currently being built atop the Cerro Pachon mountain peak in Chile.

When completed, the 8.4-meter Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will generate over 30 terabytes (30,000GB) of multiple color images of visible sky each night, according to LSST Corp., which oversees the project.

Google will collaborate with LSST to develop a search engine that can process, organize and analyze the voluminous amounts of data coming from the instrument's data streams in real time. The engine will create "movie-like windows" for scientists to view significant space events.

In addition to helping astronomers and scientists, Google and LSST are also working on a parallel viewing system for the general public.

The system would allow people to view things like "exploding supernovae, potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids as small as 100 meters and distant Kuiper Belt Objects," according to LSST.

"Google's mission is to take the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. The data from LSST will be an important part of the world's information, and by being involved in the project we hope to make it easier for that data to become accessible and useful," William Coughran, Google's vice president of engineering, said in a statement.

Former Google vice president of engineering Wayne Rosing is now a senior fellow at the University of California, Davis, and works on the LSST project with director J. Anthony Tyson.

The search engine giant joins as one of 19 entities assisting in the project including the Brookhaven National Laboratory; Columbia University; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Johns Hopkins University; Stanford University; Princeton University; Pennsylvania State University; University of Arizona; University of California, Davis; University of California, Irvine; and the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Correction: The story incorrectly stated Wayne Rosing's role. He works on the LSST project as a senior fellow in mathematical and physical sciences at the University of California, Davis.

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3 comments

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Google Space ?
So will Google be coming up with something equivalent to Google Earth ?

Allow one to browse the sky & "zoom" in to smaller sections as they get more resolution ?

I think that would be so cool. I'd love to introduce my little one to astronomy, but between the light pollution & weather, it's not always a viable option.
Posted by pgp_protector (122 comments )
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Even better,
Because there will be so much data, the more eyes that can look through it the better.
Then anybody could be the one who discovers something new in space.
Posted by Marcus Westrup (630 comments )
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too cool
Would be awesome to see the stars and planets without having to pull out the telescope from the closet and setting it up.

Ash Gilpin
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ashgilpin.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.ashgilpin.com</a>
Posted by ashgilpincom (30 comments )
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