David MacFarlane is a professor at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and director of its Particle Physics and Astrophysics division.
June 15, 2012
“The past month has been yet another busy one for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) project, which recently underwent two reviews that are critical to moving the project forward. When completed and commissioned in 2021, the LSST will be poised to embark on a unique 10-year scientific survey of the universe that will transform astronomy and physics.
Every three nights, the LSST will record 2,400 panoramic images in a patchwork covering the entire sky visible from its Cerro Pachón site in northern Chile. In so doing, it will accumulate a movie of half of the sky, including about three billion galaxies, some as far as 12 billion light years away.
The 200 million billion bytes, or petabytes, of data thereby assembled over the lifetime of the telescope will provide an unprecedented data sample for astronomy and physics. Everything from determining the orbits of near-Earth asteroids to mapping our local portion of the Milky Way, to establishing the distribution of dark matter in the universe – and probing the nature of dark energy – will be accessible in this massively parallel astronomical gold mine.”
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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.