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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 23:43 GMT 00:43 UK
Camera scans into deepest space
Space camera image
It is hoped the Scuba 2 will be used to compile a new atlas of the skies
Scientists have unveiled a revolutionary camera capable of peering into the farthest reaches of space.

The 14m Scuba 2 device has been developed by researchers at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh.

Astronomers hope the new camera, which is a thousand times more powerful than its predecessor, will enable them to explore distant undiscovered planets.

The patented new technology could also have applications in fighting terrorism and detecting cancer.

The observatory said the Scuba 2 can see deeper into outer space than ever before.

Its predecessor found undiscovered galaxies and the new camera is hundreds of times more sensitive.

Space camera
The camera cost 14m of mainly public money to develop

Edinburgh Royal Observatory hopes to use it to compile a new atlas of the skies.

A spokesman said: "All areas of astronomy will benefit, from studies of our solar system and surveys of protostellar complexes in the Milky Way, to answering key questions about the formation and evolution of galaxies in the early universe."

The camera is based on submillimetre astronomy, which is most sensitive to cold gas and dust.

It uses a large-format array containing many thousands of pixels, which can instantaneously sample the sky.

The telescope camera in action

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