News in brief: Gaia - the billion pixel camera

I might’ve had enough of megapixels when it comes to camera phones and compact cameras, but I can probably forgive a billion pixel camera when its purpose is to map a thousand million stars across the galaxy, in 3D. (No, I won’t quibble with 3D here, either.) The camera’s called Gaia and it was produced for the European Space Station by e2v Technologies, based in the UK.

The camera is effectively a mosaic of 106 CCD sensors that measure 6 × 4.7 cm and are a few microns deep. They should be able to detect light from stars that are about one million times fainter than the human eye can manage. Or be accurate enough to measure someone’s thumbnails if she or he is on the moon and the camera’s on earth.

Want to know more? The European Space Station website has it all.

(Headsup to Engadget)

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