Photo credit: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Located on the El Peñón peak of Cerro Pachón mountain in Coquimbo, Chile, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a wide-field survey reflecting telescope with an 8.4-meter primary mirror that will photograph the entire available sky every few nights. It uses a 3-mirror design to enable a compact telescope to deliver sharp images over a very wide 3.5-degree diameter field of view. Images will be recorded by a 3.2-gigapixel CCD imaging camera, the largest digital camera ever constructed, and here’s an up-close look at its lens. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
The largest CCD image sensor mosaic in the world is comprised of 189 individual sensors combined into a single 3.2-gigapixel imaging area capable of capturing a 15-second exposure of the night sky every 20 seconds, or the entire visible southern sky every few nights. The sensor has three large mirrors, and two lens elements, which are a 5.1-foot wide L1 lens element (pictured) and a “smaller” companion measuring 3.9-feet wide.
The success of the fabrication of this unique optical assembly is a testament to LLNL’s world-leading expertise in large optics, built on decades of experience in the construction of the world’s largest and most powerful laser systems,” said physicist Scot Olivier.