Above is the world's largest camera, now nearing completion in a clean room at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California. Boasting a lens that's 5 feet across, the 3,200 megapixel LSST Camera will be a key component at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory now under construction in Chile. Expected to be in operation in 2024, this incredible scientific instrument will "produce the deepest, widest image of the Universe." From IEEE Spectrum:
…The telescope will point at a parcel of sky, 3.5 degrees across—in other words, seven times the width of the full moon. The camera will take two exposures, back-to-back, approximately 15 seconds each—bracketed by the sweeping of a colossal shutter. Then, the telescope will move along to the next parcel, and so forth, in a mission to survey the southern sky for years on end.
The telescope and camera will be focused (get it?) on the following four applications:
- Probing dark energy and dark matter.
- Taking an inventory of the solar system.
- Exploring the transient optical sky.
- Mapping the Milky Way.