Vortex’s ‘out-of-this world’ performance enables mission to map the universe

PrismTech’s Vortex data connectivity platform powers LSST on its mission to survey the entire universe.

NASA’s discovery of an Earth-like planet 1,400 light-years away has been making headlines all around the world lately. The planet named Kepler-452b has characteristics that share Earth’s unique features that are essential to sustaining life- making it one of the biggest breakthroughs in today’s science of space exploration.

Thanks to the latest developments in modern telescopy; astronomers, researchers and scientists are now better positioned than ever to be able to search and find answers to the mysteries of the universe, including finding clues to the existence of life on other planets.

The next-generation of mega telescopes with huge mirrors and adaptive optics promise to advance the effort of exploring the world outside our planet Earth significantly.

The most exciting of these billion dollar telescope projects include:

The Thirty Meter Telescope (Hawaii) – This giant telescope will be the most advanced and capable ground-based optical, near-infrared observatory with a mirror size triple the diameter of any telescope in use today. This will enable scientists see farther and fainter objects clearer than ever before.

European Extremely Large Telescope (Chile) – Once completed, EELT will be the largest telescope on Earth with a mirror that stretches 39 meters across. It will generate images 13 times more light than today’s telescopes which will help find hints of exoplanets, dark energy and other mysteries within the universe.

Another one to join the world’s collection of giant telescopes is the Giant Magellan Telescope (Chile) which will house seven of today’s largest stiff monolith mirrors. Its unique design features will generate images that are 10 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

James Webb Space Telescope – is the only space-based amongst the six mega telescope featured here. Surpassing the size of two other similar telescopes, this one triples the size of Hubble and Spitzer carrying a 6.5 meter mirror when fully unfolded. Its capacity will even produce longer wavelength and higher sensitivity compared to the Hubble.

Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope – Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (WFIRST-AFTA) – features a telescope with a 2.4-meter aperture and on-axis secondary mirror, which feeds two different instrument volumes containing the wide field and coronagraph instruments. It is expected to provide quality imaging of the skies over an area 100 times larger than Hubble.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (Chile) – The LSST is the smallest in size amongst the six mega giant telescopes measuring 8.4 meter in diameter and weighs 6,000 pounds but it has extraordinary and advanced scope and speed. Using the world’s largest digital camera, taking 3.2 gigapixel images every 20 seconds to capture colourful, time-lapse videos of the sky – generating 30 terabytes of data each night, the LSST will create the first ever 3D map of the universe, showing more of the universe than humanity has seen looking through all of the previous telescopes combined.

“PrismTech is proud to be part of making history by helping create the first 3D map of the universe.”

Combining this enormous data-gathering machine is an equally-powerful data-sharing technology proudly provided by PrismTech. The award-winning data connectivity platform, Vortex was selected by the Association of Universities and Research in Astronomy (AURA) to support the demanding data management requirements of the LSST project. One of the major benefits of using Vortex is that LSST developed applications are not subjected to burden of data management tasks such as message interpretation and state management. To achieve amazing power the system needs, Vortex is key to providing reliable, scalable and time-critical data connectivity, enabling the data to be accessed by over 400 scientists and engineers worldwide in real-time.

Each of these new telescope facilities will be optimized for different areas of research to solve the deepest secrets of the universe such as understanding its evolution, solving the mysteries of the dark matter, finding other life and identifying other habitable planets.

With a surge in advancement in telescopy, the human race is moving closer to unlocking the mysteries of the universe. These are truly exciting times.

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