(CNN)The world's largest digital camera can spot a golf ball from 15 miles away.
When the Vera C. Rubin Observatory begins observations in 2023, its SUV-size camera will be able to capture complete panoramas of the southern sky every few nights. And that requires a new type of camera never seen before.
The imaging sensors for the world's largest digital camera have captured the first-ever 3,200-megapixel images by teams at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) in California
Once this array of sensors is installed in the camera at SLAC and delivered to the Rubin Observatory in Chile, it will contribute to the observatory's 10-year Legacy Survey of Space and Time.
This survey will serve as a catalog of billions of galaxies and astrophysical objects, essentially creating "the largest astronomical movie of all time" and unlock the mysteries of the universe.
The first 3,200-megapixel images captured using the sensors are so sprawling that they would require 378 4K ultra-high-definition TV screens to showcase just one of them at its full size.
The assembly of the sensors in the camera's focal plane was completed in January, and the first images were used to test it.
"The focal plane will produce the images for the LSST, so it's the capable and sensitive eye of the Rubin Observatory," said Vincent Riot, LSST camera project manager, in a statement. Riot is from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
The camera's focal plane, similar to an imaging sensor in a digital camera, includes 189 sensors that provide 16 megapixels each. And it's more than 2 feet wide, compared to the normal 1.4-inch-wide sensor in digital full-frame cameras.
This makes the sensor large enough to image a part of the sky that is equal to 40 full moons.