At its completion in 2016, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will provide the largest ever survey of the night sky. It will deliver 30 terabytes of data each night. LSST will consist of an 8.4 meter telescope and the 3.2 billion pixel camera. Astronomers hope the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will deliver 5.6 million 15 second images over its ten year lifetime. The images will then be cataloged and made available for viewing by both the public and researchers. Astronomers hope these images will allow them to create a 3D map of the universe. In addition, they hope it will greatly increase their understanding of dark matter and dark energy.
The location was carefully chosen after much debate. The location has an altitude of 2,715 meters above sea level. The mountain is known to have some of the darkest skies in the world. The area has very little rainfall and one of the most stable environments on Earth. A stable atmosphere with a large number of clear nights will greatly assist astronomers in collecting data. The Cerro Pachon Mountain is currently home to the Gemini South Telescope and the Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope. The planned location is just northwest of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.
Be back tomorrow with a little information on another amazing endeavor – ESA’s Gaia project!
The New Sky | LSST. (n.d.). Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://www.lsst.org/lsst/