• Home  / 
  • Featured
  •  /  Viewing Distant Galaxies – On Your Computer

Viewing Distant Galaxies – On Your Computer


If you’re interested in astronomy then here is some exciting news. You can now view distant galaxies, in good definition, from your own computer. Peering down a telescope for a faint image is still fun, but new software offers some spectacular images.

Developed by astrophysicists, an “expansion pack” that provides a virtual tour of the universe. This is through a progam called the Sky Viewer tool. The software was released in May 2015; and the new January 2016 update doubles the size of the “searchable universe”. Some 370 million stars and galaxies are now available to view.

The images are drawn from a scientific space-mapping project called dubbed DECaLS (which is an acronym for Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey). The images were captured by the 520-megapixel Dark Energy Survey Camera (DECam). The project is run by the US, managed at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The aim of DECaLS, Laboratory Manager reports, is to capture some 40 million galaxies and other objects like quasars (luminous sources powered by black holes).

By 2018 even more impressive images will be available. This is when the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) is set to go live. This is located on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The device will measure dark energy using techniques like baryon acoustic oscillations, so that objects beyond the visible universe can be seen. The end product should be the largest, most detailed 3-D map of the universe ever seen.

In relation to this, a citizen science project called Galaxy Zoo is seeking volunteers to view the images and note things the professional scientists may have missed. With 370 million stars captured so far, there’s a lot to do!

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.

  • veronicablood

    screenshots or it didn’t happen

    • Victor Grayson

      What do you mean?

      • sorrybadbeat .

        She is playing on the common thing that is said in forums “pics or it didn’t happen”. It’s called a joke, she was joking with us.

        • Victor Grayson

          Funny joke.

      • veronicablood

        you’re writing about “Viewing”, yet you include no pictures in your article. That’s silly. Show me the money.

        • Victor Grayson

          There is a picture.

        • Victor Grayson

          I’m not writing anything about viewing.

  • Daniel Scott

    Scientists know more about distance galaxies than they do about the Bible. De-evolution much?

    • mjrnumber13

      Sorry, I’ll take quasars and black holes and dark matter over Noah’s ark.

    • Sid Vicious

      Distant galaxies are real. Nothing in the bible is.

    • Scimajor

      I’m glad you agree that scientists don’t give a rats behind about that poorly written piece of fiction.

    • sorrybadbeat .

      Most scientist were theist at one point in time, what you’re suggesting is that the more your learn about the universe and go to school, you become more close minded and ignorant — You are anti-education, disgusting that religion has poisoned your mind in such a way and you would spread such filth.

      Here is an alternate theory, the Bible is a simple story created by people who didn’t know how the universe worked but desperately wanted to provide answers to equally simple people. That tradition has carried on and as people become educated they realize that those stories are not true.

    • LAMBDA471

      LOL why are promoting this garbage in here?

    • Victor Grayson

      What are you on about?

  • Victor Grayson

    Interesting software!