Construction Begins on World's Most Powerful Camera

Construction Begins on World's Most Powerful Camera

High in the Chilean Andes, workers are beginning to build the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). Although this instrument won't be the biggest telescope in the world, its 3.2 billion pixels will make it the most powerful on Earth.

The facility is scheduled to open in 2019. And while it will definitely be taking some pretty amazing photographs of the skies above us, the ultimate aim of the telescope is to divulge data about the expansion of the universe over the next ten years. It will be looking for dark energy -  the phenomenon that's thought to play a role in this process.

Science operations are scheduled to begin in 2022 with LSST taking digital images of the entire visible southern sky every few nights from atop a mountain called Cerro Pachón in Chile. It will produce the widest, deepest and fastest views of the night sky ever observed. Over a 10-year time frame, the observatory will detect tens of billions of objects — the first time a telescope will catalogue more objects in the universe than there are people on Earth — and will create movies of the sky with details that have never been seen before.

Gathering some 30TB of data every night, the telescope will help to expand the catalogue of celestial objects to around 10billion galaxies – four orders of magnitude larger than today. The high resolution images it captures will be used to create a 3D image of the entire known observable universe: a pretty amazing feat.

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