Largest Camera Ever to Observe the Universe
The world's largest digital camera is built to discover the southern sky. The camera called LSST, as short of The Legacy Survey of Space and Time, is set to be installed at the Vera Rubin Observatory on a Chilean mountaintop where scientists will scan the sky to learn about the Milky Way, dark matter and other phenomena. This largest camera ever to observe the universe is planned to image half of the southern sky every three days with its huge 3.2 gigapixels resolution.
As part of the project called The Legacy Survey of Space and Time, the study plans to investigate the southern sky that has been going on for a decade. The team of researchers finally took the first photo with the LSST camera in 2020. The camera is now mounted at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, and will eventually be installed at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in northern Chile to observe the southern sky.
The study's data is intended to help researchers around the world better assess a wide range of pressing questions about the nature of dark energy and dark matter, the formation of the Milky Way, the properties of small objects in the solar system, the orbits of potentially dangerous asteroids and the possible existence of unexplored explosive phenomena.
3.2 gigapixels Giant Camera that Includes 6 Large Cameras
The 3.2 gigapixels camera’s front end consists of three lenses and a filter that can be adjusted depending on the use case. Filters provide the ability to view the sky in six different bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. Behind that is the camera’s focal plane on which the light from the telescope’s mirror is cast. This focal plane is made up of 189 charge-coupled devices and all are cooled in a vacuum to almost 101 degrees Celsius (-150 degrees Fahrenheit). Each of these devices can be seen as digital cameras in themselves as they capture mosaic images of the sky. Once installed in Chile, the focal plane will point towards the ground to capture images of space where the light will reflect from one of the camera's bottom mirrors to the convex mirror and return to the final mirror before reflection.
The LSST will survey as much of the sky as possible and track how it changes to understand both the nature of distant galaxies and events of our history. The powerful camera will allow scientists to look farther than ever before to learn more about the cosmos. LSST will image half of the southern sky every three days, contributing to a 10-year study and giving researchers a full portrait of that area once a week. It will be able to look far (and therefore into the past) in the sky and view a wider region than ever before. It will also keep an eye on near-Earth asteroids to make sure they don't collide with our planet.
All of the images collected by the LSST will also be released to the general public besides equipping scientists with the ability to follow patterns and discoveries in the cosmos. The observatory has set to have systems ready for the first light in January 2023.