Chromoscope

December 5, 2009 — Leave a comment

Stuart Lowe, of Jodrell Bank, along with myself and Chris North from Cardiff University are proud to release Chromoscope: a multiwavelength sky explorer.

Chromoscope, allows anyone to view the Milky Way and the distant Universe more easily than ever before. The site shows the sky – projected in a way that highlights the Milky Way – in a range of wavelengths, from high-energy gamma rays through to the longest radio waves. Chromoscope was launched at the .Astronomy conference in Leiden, Netherlands.

We wanted to create an easy way to let people see and understand the night sky in non-optical light. When you add it all up, astrophysicists spend far more time studying x-rays, gamma-rays, infrared and radio than they do looking at optical images. Why? Because there is a lot of structure that we can see and understand through those non-human filters.

The site came about because of the Royal Society Exhibition last summer as a way to explain why Herschel and Plank saw not in visible light but in infrared and microwave respectively. It is meant to be an easy-to-use tool and one that can be downloaded and run without a web connection if desired.

The project involves data from ROSAT (X-ray), the Digital Sky Survey (optical), IRAS (infrared), WMAP (microwave) and other all-sky astronomical surveys. There are more wavelengths lined up and ready to go in the near future. It will is available at http://www.chromoscope.net – go and play!

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