Last week the U.S. Department of Energy gave a green light to a project that aims to build the largest digital camera this planet has ever seen. The camera, built by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, will cost around $170 million, be roughly the size of a small car, and be able to capture 3.2-gigapixel photographs using a giant sensor composed of 189 CCD sensors.
Sporting an 8.4-meter-diameter primary mirror, the LSST will be a large, wide-field ground-based telescope designed to provide time-lapse 3-D maps of the universe with unprecedented depth and detail. Of particular interest for cosmology and fundamental physics, these maps can be used to locate the mysterious dark matter [...]
[...] Each night, the LSST will take more than 800 wide-field 15-second exposures, each covering 49 times more sky area than the moon. It will photograph the entire visible sky twice a week. [#]
The lens/telescope will be quite a beast as well — it packs “enough resolving power to distinguish [...] a pair of car headlights seen at a distance of 400 miles.”
Image credits: Photographs by LSST Corporation