World's Largest Camera
Gravitational lensing is our best tool for finding dark matter. LSST's power and large field of view will enable us to see weaker lenses, which are more common.Read More
Current observations indicate the ordinary matter that we see all around us makes up only 5 percent of our universe. The data collected by the LSST will enhance our understanding of the rest of the universe – dark matter and dark energy.
The LSST will undertake a thorough exploration of our solar system with two goals in mind: learning how it originally formed, and protecting Earth from hazardous, near-flying asteroids.Read More
Individual stars in the Milky Way and the galaxies nearby can be resolved by the LSST. These stars then provide a fossil record—a Rosetta Stone—that can be decoded to determine how these galaxies formed.Read More
About the size of a small SUV, the LSST camera is the largest camera ever constructed for astronomy. It is a large-aperture, wide-field optical camera that is capable of viewing light from the near ultraviolet to near infrared wavelengths.
|Length||12.25 ft (3.73 m)|
|Height||5.5 ft (1.65 m)|
|Weight||6200 lbs (2800 kg)|
|Pixel Count||3200 megapixel|
|Wavelength Range||320–1050 nm|
Note: 1 nm (nanometer) = 10-9 m or one-billionth of a meter
The focal plane is the heart of the camera, where light from billions of galaxies comes to a focus. It consists of 189 charge-coupled device (CCD) sensors, arranged in a total of 21 3-by-3 square arrays mounted on platforms called rafts. The system is cooled to about -100 °C to minimize noise.
The 64-cm-wide focal plane corresponds to a 3.5-degree field of view, which means the camera can capture more than 40 times the area of the full moon in the sky with each exposure.
The camera also contains a carousel that holds five on-board filters. Each of the filters can be individually swapped out in under two minutes and up to four times a night with the double-rail auto changer. The system also integrates with a manual load-lock changer to allow for a swap-out of a sixth filter.
The optimized wavelength range for the LSST camera is 320–1050 nm (near ultraviolet to near infrared). This range is divided into six spectral bands labeled u-g-r-i-z-y, each associated with one of the filters. For example, an infrared, or "i" filter might be used to observe sources obscured by dust, since infrared wavelengths can pass through the dust.
Foot primary mirror
Terabytes of data per night
Billion stars & galaxies
Year survey of the sky
Financial support for LSST comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Agreement No. 1258333, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation. The NSF-funded LSST Project Office for construction was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). The DOE-funded effort to build the LSST camera is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).