23rd February 2024 4:43 am
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A 3.2 gigapixel digital camera inches closer to taking spectacular night sky images

Cameras come in all shapes and sizes, but we can guarantee you that you have never seen one quiet like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) in Chile. The LSST, which will be the largest digital camera in the world, just got the funding it needed to go into operation.

The LSST is about the same size as a small car, weighs 2.8 tons and will be able to take pictures in all its 3.2 gigapixel glory, capturing some of the most spectacular night sky scenes ever recorded.

LSST director Steven Kahn explained that getting the funding required to operate is a rather big deal: “This important decision endorses the camera fabrication budget that we proposed. Together with the construction funding we received from the National Science Foundation in August, it is now clear that LSST will have the support it needs to be completed on schedule.”

Being the biggest camera on the block comes with a number of responsibilities, and the members of the LSST collaboration have earmarked key aspects it would like the camera to focus on, one of them being the nature of Dark Energy.

“With a light-gathering power among the largest in the world, it can detect faint objects with short exposures. Its uniquely wide field of view allows it to observe large areas of the sky at once; compact and nimble, it can move quickly between images. Taking more than 800 panoramic images each night, it can cover the sky twice each week,” the company explained on the website.

If everything goes well, the camera should be up and running by 2022 from the Cerro Pachón mountains in Chile.

“Over a 10-year time frame, the observatory will detect tens of billions of objects—the first time a telescope will catalog more objects in the universe than there are people on Earth—and will create movies of the sky with details that have never been seen before.”

[Source – LSST, Stanford, Image – LSST]

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