Large Synoptic Survey Telescope: the largest camera in the world gets the go-ahead


A few days ago the US Department of Energy has approved the start of construction of the 3.2-gigapixel camera, which, once built, will be the beating heart of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). The construction of the telescope is already under way at the El Peñón peak of the mountain Cerro Pachón, in northern Chile. The first sod has already been turned in 2011, the completion is scheduled for early 2022.

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The specs of the camera are impressive and make photographers’ hearts leap for joy. The round sensor – actually an array consisting of many CCD sensors – is supposed to have a diameter of 64 cm. In front of the sensor there will be a filter-changing mechanism, which will enable the camera to isolate and capture specific light spectra.


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Including the three correction lenses placed in front of the filter-changing mechanism, the “utility trunk” behind the sensor and the cryostat the camera will be three meters long, 1.6m wide and will weigh almost three tons.


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A camera like this naturally needs appropriately sized date storage, which can handle the expected 15 terabytes and almost 6000 terabytes of data per night and per year respectively. 😉

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