World’s largest camera lens arrives safely for assembly into LSST

Link here. The lens will be part of the camera used in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), planned for first light in Chile in 2021, and the video at the link showed the moment they removed the shipping container to inspect the lens to make sure it wasn’t damaged during transport.

The lens will next be installed inside the 3.2 gigapixel camera that will be used by LSST, which will do the following:

The LSST will live on a mountain in Chile, where it will use a 3.2-gigapixel camera and some massive optics to capture a 15-second exposure of the night sky every 20 seconds. At this rate, the LSST will be able to image the entire visible southern sky every few nights.


I have embedded the video below the fold. This five foot diameter lens is quite astonishing, though the technology that produced it is merely a variation of the same engineering that now routinely produces telescope mirrors 26 feet across.

Hat tip Mike Nelson.
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LSST’s giant coating chamber arrives in Chile

The giant coating chamber that will be used to coat the mirrors for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope has arrived in Chile.

The Coating Chamber and its associated equipment will share this level with the camera maintenance rooms, the vertical platform lift, and the shipping and receiving area. The Coating Chamber will be used to coat LSST’s mirrors when they arrive on Cerro Pachón, and to re-coat the mirrors periodically during Operations.

LSST will conduct a 10-year survey, and during this period its mirrors will be exposed to the elements each night as the telescope surveys the sky through the open side of the observatory dome. Over time the mirrors will get dusty, and the mirror coatings may develop small blemishes that eventually affect the telescope’s performance. To ensure that LSST continues to collect the sharpest possible images of the night sky, its mirrors will undergo periodic washing and recoating. It’s anticipated that the Primary/Tertiary Mirror (M1M3) will need to be recoated every two years, and the Secondary Mirror (M2) every five years, during the 10-year survey. Both the washing and recoating will be done inside the observatory; special equipment will be used to remove and transport the mirrors from the telescope to the washing station and coating chamber.

LSST will essentially be imaging the entire visible sky nightly, making it possible over time to track sudden events, such as supernovae, as they happen.

Ground-breaking for LSST takes place in Chile

The official launch of construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) took place today in Chile.

Today, collaborators from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Technológica (CONICYT) and several other international public-private partners will gather outside La Serena, Chile, for a traditional Chilean stone-laying ceremony to celebrate the construction launch of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST).

They did the same kind of ceremony in Hawaii for the ground-breaking of the Thirty Meter Telescope, but things have gone very sour since. In Chile, however, I expect no problems. I wonder which local community has more sense.

The Department of Energy has approved the start of detailed engineering for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Ground-based astronomy moves forward: The Department of Energy has approved the start of detailed engineering for the camera on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

I have to admit, I am puzzled why the Department of Energy is involved in this. Government funding for ground-based telescopes normally comes from the National Science Foundation.