On July 14, NASA announced the public release of a huge collection of images (1.9 million) from the Two-Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), the most thorough census of stars ever made. Using two automated, 51-inch telescopes, one in Arizona and the other in Chile, the three-year-old survey has so far taken images of half a million galaxies and 162 million stars. By its completion, the survey's catalogs will contain more than 300 million objects. A sampling of these images has been placed online at the 2MASS site at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at the California Institute of Technology. The twelve-page gallery contains some amazing images, including the center of the Milky Way, the Sombrero galaxy, the Crab Nebula, and the Dark Nebula, offered as large thumbnails which link to a full-sized image. Users can learn more about 2MASS at the survey's homepages at Caltech and the University of Massachusetts.
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