The first dataset from the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Plan (HSC-SSP) can be seen easily with the “HSC Viewer” on your PC or tablet.
The HSC Viewer is the user-friendly website to display the HSC-SSP data. When you start zooming into one of the green squares displayed on the initial screen of the HSC Viewer, an HSC image appears. If you keep zooming deeper into the Universe, thousands of tiny points of light start to gush out, even from dark, starless areas. Each dot corresponds to one galaxy with hundreds of billions of stars. You can see various galaxies with different sizes, shapes, and colors at different distances: from nearby galaxies which appear large with clearly distinguishable shapes, to distant galaxies seen only as faint red dots.
The menu bar provides a list of objects recommended by the developers. For example, the “Eye of Horus” with strong gravitational lensing effects, or the “Tadpole Galaxy” with a long tail of stars made by gravitational interaction due to a galactic encounter. Please enjoy all these eye catching objects.
In the wide area observed by the Subaru Telescope, you can find many interacting galaxies affecting each other’s shapes through mutual gravitation. The Tadpole Galaxy described above is one of them. NAOJ is now developing a program to let the public identify the shapes of interacting galaxies in the HSC data.
“I developed this viewer so the general public can become familiar with the latest, extensive HSC data. I hope you enjoy exploring the Universe which the Subaru Telescope observes,” said Michitaro Koike (Specially Appointed Senior Specialist from Subaru Telescope), the developer of the HSC Viewer.
Source: Dr. Hitoshi Yamaoka, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan