This heady task was completed by just one telescope atop Haleakalā, on Maui, which scanned the visible and near-infrared sky from 2010 to 2014.
"Pan-STARRS is a relatively small telescope when compared with the big ones we have on Mauna Kea ... but it has the biggest astronomical camera in the world; one and a half billion pixels in the camera compared with the 10 million in your typical digital camera at home," said astronomer Eugene Magnier, of the University of Hawaii. If they had printed the survey in one giant photograph, Magnier added, the photo would be one and a half miles long.
The sheer detail captured in the survey, and the fact that the entire database has been made available online, means that it will be used for many years to come by professional and amateur astronomers to make discoveries about the cosmos.
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"It's a census of the universe and the sorts of things people will learn by digging into the details of that census will be enormous," said Kenneth Chambers, also an astronomer at the University of Hawaii.
The researchers estimate there to be three billion astronomical sources in the vast cosmic map, so with this release will likely come a slew of new science.
The survey is supported by NASA and the National Science Foundation, with collaborations across 10 research institutions in four countries, and public access to all of the precious data has been made possible through the Space Telescope Science Institute, which has many years of experience with storing and managing huge quantities of astronomical data for the Hubble Space Telescope and other projects.
So what are you waiting for? An entire universe awaits.