The world’s largest camera ever built will weigh three tons, have 3.2 gigapixel resolution, and be the size of a small car. When it is ready, it would be mounted on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) in Chile to provide scientists with the sharpest images of galaxies ever taken.
LSST is under construction as well, and it is expected to be fully operational in five years’ time. Its exact location is on El Peñón peak of a 2,700 meter high mountain in northern Chile.
Its camera will be constructed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Accelerator Laboratory. DOE agreed to provide the funds necessary for the construction of the camera.
LSST is expected to provide super clear images of the southern skies every few nights. Scientists said that the new ground telescope could detect more galaxies than people on Earth, and would be able to produce videos that reveal the night sky in striking details.
The telescope’s camera will be able to capture panoramic views of the sky, but its images would be so sharp that scientists would need 1,500 HDTV screens to render just a single image. A single snapshot would capture a patch of the sky that is 40 times the size of a full moon.
The camera is expected to provide researchers with million of gigabytes of visual information every year. Astronomers also hope that the powerful camera could help them unlock the mysteries behind dark energy, supernovas, dark matter, and galaxy’s origins.
For this purpose, the camera would be equipped with different filters which will provide images of the universe in various wavelengths. The SLAC in Menlo Park, Calif., will assemble the camera while different components of it would be built by researchers and labs across the world.
SLAC scientists will also build the internal database of the camera which is expected to host 6 million Gb every year. The images will be made available to the public. Six million of gigabytes of imagery per year is the equivalent of 800,000 photos taken with a regular camera every night.
Nadine Kurita of SLAC said that key parts of the camera including optical parts were being constructed after years of planning and designing the prototypes.
‘The coming year will be crucial as we assemble and test the sensors for the focal plane,’
The National Research Council, which co-funded the project, said in a recent report that LSST was a top priority in the next ten years.
Image Source: Flickr
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