Astronomers create a 3D catalog of galaxies

The most complete catalog of space objects has appeared – stars, galaxies, and quasars. Researchers can study it through a special interface or in the form of a table.

A team of astronomers from the University of Hawaii has created the world’s largest three-dimensional astronomical catalog of stars, galaxies, and quasars. The team used data from the panoramic survey telescope and the UH or Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) rapid response system. The survey is the world’s largest multicolor optical survey, covering three-quarters of the visible sky. Astronomers have used new computational tools to decipher which of the 3 billion objects are stars, galaxies, or quasars. For galaxies, the software also produced estimates of their distances.

The resulting 3D catalog is available as a high-level scientific product. Its size is about 300 GB, and scientific users can access the catalog through the MAST CasJobs SQL interface or download the entire collection as a table.

Astronomers performed publicly available spectroscopic measurements that provide the final classification of objects and distances and passed them on to the artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm. The AI ​​process was key in helping the team understand how to accurately define the same properties across different dimensions of objects’ colors and sizes. This AI method with a “feeding neural network” achieved an overall classification accuracy of 98.1% for galaxies, 97.8% for stars, and 96.6% for quasars. The accuracy of estimating the distance to galaxies is almost 100%.

Study lead author Robert Beck. “Using a state-of-the-art optimization algorithm, we used a set of nearly 4 million lights to train the neural network to predict source types and distances to galaxies.”