The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Camera

when you look into the night sky do you ever wonder what’s out there how many asteroids how many galaxies is there matter out there that we can’t even see how did it get there where is it all going and what is the ultimate fate of the universe humans have asked questions like these for thousands of years and over time we’ve built many kinds of devices to help uncover the answers now on a mountaintop in Chile scientists and engineers are building something revolutionary the large synoptic survey telescope or LSST like a giant panoramic camera LSST will give us a composite image of the entire visible sky every few nights for 10 full years this will let us see billions of objects at once and watch how they move and change to catalog and detect hazardous asteroids understand our own solar system learn more about our galaxies and determine the properties of dark matter and dark energy which can’t be seen but may make up 96 percent of the matter and energy in the entire universe and by studying this mysterious matter and energy we can learn about the way the universe is expanding and how it will ultimately unfold in order to take these pictures LSST relies on its revolutionary camera the largest digital camera ever built for astronomy it’s conceptually not all that different from cameras that you or I might use but in order to take the whitest deepest images of our universe it has to be both big and unique the camera itself is about the size of a small car it weighs more than three tons and its front lens is over five feet tall inside the camera the sensor that takes the images is over 2 feet by 2 feet in size because it’s so big the sensor is actually made of 189 smaller pieces that when combined together can capture an area of the sky 40 times the size of the full moon this results in a 3.2 gigapixel image or an image that’s over 15 time’s the resolution of HDTV next just like we use filters on our cameras to take different kinds of images LSS T’s camera has several filters that allow it to look at the universe in different colors or wavelengths the filters sit inside a complex automatic changing system that allows them to be swapped out quickly if needed with these filters scientists can reveal new and exciting things about the same area of sky allowing us to learn more about the universe than we knew before finally just like the cameras images the amount of data that LSST produces will also be enormous we may think that pictures from our cameras are large but LSST will produce over 15 terabytes of data in a single night and while that in itself is impressive LSS T’s data management system will automatically compare images to identify interesting events in the sky like supernovae or near-earth asteroids an alert scientist quickly when they’re discovered with the images from LSST humankind will be able to see more than ever before discovering new things about our galaxy solar system and universe and hopefully answering some of the questions we’ve been asking for centuries and ultimately thanks to LSST the next time we look into the night sky we’ll finally know a little bit more about what’s really out there

9 thoughts on “The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Camera

  1. Looking forward to seeing more supernova as a result of LSST! – Well actually any supernova, have not seen a live one yet.

  2. What is the depth of field of this camera for its survey, with it moving so quickly…I wouldn’t imagine it can do anything like a deep field…but I do wonder how great its depth will be on average?

  3. There's a lot of amazing telescopes coming online soon, but this is the one that is going to change our understanding of the universe. As I understand it, the entire body of data will also be publicly available. A ten-year whole-sky movie available to all–and we think the universe is dynamic now.

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