Massive OmegaCam takes 268-megapixel space pics

The 1,700 pound sensor that makes up the wide-angle eye of the VLT Survey Telescope (aka VST) is exactly like the sensor in your digital camera. Except, you know, bigger. A lot bigger. We're talking an array of 32 individual CCD sensors that together take 268 megapixels worth of images of outer space. Meet OmegaCam.

The VST is sort of like a spotting scope for the VLT, which is a Very Large array of four separate Telescopes that team up to get clear views of very small objects. In order to figure out which very small objects are the most interesting, the VST (which has a much larger field of view) will be surveying the sky first. This isn't to say that the VST is somehow a lesser optical instrument. It puts those 268 megapixels to good use churning out images like these:

M17_medium.jpg

This picture of M17 (also known as the Omega Nebula, appropriately enough) was the first image taken by OmegaCam. Of course, this is only a poor little 2k x 2k downres of the original full resolution image, which you can check out at the Astro-Wise website below.

Astro-Wise, via PetaPixel

For the latest tech stories, follow us on Twitter at @dvice