From SLAC News Center: “World’s Largest Digital Camera Project Passes Critical Milestone”

April 24, 2012
by Andy Freeberg

“A 3.2 billion-pixel digital camera designed by SLAC is now one step closer to reality. The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope camera, which will capture the widest, fastest and deepest view of the night sky ever observed, has received “Critical Decision 1” approval by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to move into the next stage of the project.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will survey the entire visible sky every week, creating an unprecedented public archive of data – about 6 million gigabytes per year, the equivalent of shooting roughly 800,000 images with a regular eight-megapixel digital camera every night, but of much higher quality and scientific value. Its deep and frequent cosmic vistas will help answer critical questions about the nature of dark energy and dark matter and aid studies of near-Earth asteroids, Kuiper belt objects, the structure of our galaxy and many other areas of astronomy and fundamental physics.

‘With 189 sensors and over 3 tons of components that have to be packed into an extremely tight space, you can imagine this is a very complex instrument,’ said Nadine Kurita, the project manager for the LSST camera at SLAC. ‘But given the enormous challenges required to provide such a comprehensive view of the universe, it’s been an incredible opportunity to design something so unique.’ ”

See the full article here.

The effort to build the LSST is led by the LSST Corporation, a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation formed in 2003, with headquarters in Tucson, AZ. Financial support for LSST comes from the National Science Foundation with additional contributions from private foundation gifts, grants to universities, and in-kind support from Department of Energy laboratories and other LSST Member Institutions. In 2011, the LSST construction project was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).

Institutional Members
Last Revision 1/19/2011

Adler Planetarium
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL)
California Institute of Technology
Carnegie Mellon University
Cornell University
Drexel University
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
George Mason University
Google, Inc.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Institut de Physique Nucleaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3)
Johns Hopkins University
Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) – Stanford University
Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Inc.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
National Optical Astronomy Observatory*
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Princeton University
Purdue University
Research Corporation for Science Advancement*
Rutgers University
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Space Telescope Science Institute
Texas A & M University
The Pennsylvania State University
The University of Arizona*
University of California at Davis
University of California at Irvine
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Michigan
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of Washington*
Vanderbilt University

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