From SLAC News Center: “SLAC-led Project to Build World’s Largest Digital Camera Impresses DOE Panel”

November 8, 2011
Mike Ross

“A U.S. Department of Energy review panel last week gave a glowing endorsement for the SLAC-led project to create the world’s largest digital camera, which will enable a new telescope being built on a Chilean mountaintop to investigate key astronomical questions ranging from dark matter and dark energy to near-Earth asteroids.

After two and a half days of presentations and meetings at SLAC, the panel of 19 experts recommended that the 3.2 gigapixel (billion pixel) camera for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope receive Critical Decision-1 status, the DOE’s project-management milestone that defines a large project’s approach and funding for achieving a specific scientific mission.

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Once constructed, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope’s 3.2-billion-pixel camera will be the largest digital camera in the world. Roughly the size of a small car, the camera will take 800 panoramic images each night, surveying the entire southern sky twice a week. These images will enable researchers to create a 3-D map of the universe with unprecedented depth and detail, and could shed light on the fundamental properties of dark energy and dark matter. The camera¹s design team, led by SLAC and Stanford University researchers at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, recently reached a key milestone in the project and will undergo a preliminary design review this summer.

The camera, which will be built at SLAC, is expected to cost about one third of the nearly $500 million price tag for the new telescope, which is being borne by the DOE and the National Science Foundation, as well as several public and private organizations in the United States and abroad.

‘The LSST Camera Project team is experienced and has demonstrated a good working relationship,’ said Kurt Fisher, DOE/SC Review Chairperson from DOE’s Office of Project Assessment. “The initial, plenary presentations were impressive, and the team was well-prepared for the review.”

See the full article here.

SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science. i1