LSST Camera

Ranked as the top U.S. ground-based national priority for astronomy for the current decade, Vera C. Rubin Observatory is currently under construction atop Cerro Pachón in Chile. During its first 10 years of operations, the observatory will conduct the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) of the entire visible Southern sky and provide the widest, fastest and deepest view of the night sky ever observed. Its vast public archive of data will dramatically advance our knowledge of the dark energy and dark matter that make up 95% of the universe, as well as galaxy formation and potentially hazardous asteroids.

SLAC is leading the design and fabrication of the LSST Camera, which will be mounted on the observatory’s Simonyi Survey Telescope. Rubin Observatory is a federal project jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, with early construction funding received from private donations through the LSST Corporation. 

To be directed to Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) website click HERE.

The LSST Mass Simulator

Using a mass simulator, our LSST Camera crew tested the assembly stand for the telescope's 3,200-megapixel digital camera. The test mass is shaped like the future camera but is a quarter heavier (8,500 pounds).

What is Dark Energy?

Dark energy is a mysterious force that is making our universe expand faster and faster. It constitutes 70% of the universe (the rest is dark matter, 25%, and ordinary matter, just 5%).

Scientists study dark energy by looking at how the distribution of galaxies changes as we look farther out into the universe, which is the same as looking farther back in time. This is done in deep astronomical surveys that photograph large portions of the sky in unparalleled detail. SLAC is building the camera for the next major galaxy survey, the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST).

LSST Videos

Public Lecture | Brown Dwarfs: Failed Stars or Overachieving Planets?

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Camera

The LSST ComCam Shipped

LSST Illustration

The LSST camera built at SLAC is the size of a small car, weighing more than 3 tons. The 3.2-gigapixel camera will be the largest digital camera ever built for ground-based optical astronomy.

Photo Gallery

Construction of the LSST Camera began in 2015 in a clean room at SLAC. The size of a small car and weighing more than 3 tons, the 3.2-gigpixel camera will be the largest digital camera ever built for ground-based optical astronomy. Displaying just one of its full-sky images would require more than 1,500 high-definition TV screens.

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