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Capodimonte Deep Field

With the comparatively few large telescopes available in the world, it is not possible to study the Universe to its outmost limits in all directions. Instead, astronomers try to obtain the most detailed information possible in selected viewing directions, assuming that what they find there is representative for the Universe as a whole. This is the philosophy behind the so-called "deep-field" projects that subject small areas of the sky to intensive observations with different telescopes and methods. The astronomers determine the properties of the objects seen, as well as their distances and are then able to obtain a map of the space within the corresponding cone-of-view (the "pencil beam"). Recent, successful examples of this technique are the "Hubble Deep Field" and the "Chandra Deep Field" (eso0106).

In this context, the Capodimonte Deep Field (OACDF) is a pilot research project, now underway at the Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte (OAC) in Napoli (Italy). It is a multi-colour imaging survey performed with the Wide Field Imager (WFI), a 67-million pixel (8k x 8k) digital camera that is installed at the 2.2-m MPG/ESO Telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. The scientific goal of the OACDF is to provide an important database for subsequent extragalactic, galactic and planetary studies. It will allow the astronomers at OAC - who are involved in the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) project - to gain insight into the processing (and use) of the large data flow from a camera similar to, but four times smaller than the OmegaCam wide-field camera that will be installed at the VST.


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