New astronomical observation system uses AI

Japanese scientists have developed a new astronomical observation system, which captures an enormous quantity of video images of the night sky and analyzes them through artificial intelligence.

A research team started full operation of the new system named Tomo-e Gozen on Tuesday.

A 105-centimeter-diameter telescope equipped with more than 80 high-performance image sensors enables scientists to capture video data of the entire night sky in just two hours.

The telescope automatically changes its shooting angle every six seconds. The new system can collect 30 terabytes of data in one night.

Artificial intelligence analyzes the images and can discern subtle changes in light and movements of astronomical objects.

The research team says the system is the first to observe the night sky so thoroughly. They say they can discover scientifically important phenomena, such as supernovae explosions just after they occur and small asteroids that present a risk of colliding with the earth.

The system is also expected to contribute to a greater understanding of the origins of life and the universe.

Shigeyuki Sako, Assistant Professor at the University of Tokyo says that he wants to use the new system to look into small transitions the universe makes and to explore the unknown.