A photograph and rendering mix of the exterior of the LSST building on Cerro Pachón in Chile. Image credit: LSST/NSF/AURA

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), currently under construction on Cerro Pachón in Chile, is an 8-meter-class telescope coupled to a 3.2-gigapixel camera – the world’s largest digital camera ever fabricated for optical astronomy.

The goal of the LSST project is to conduct a 10-year survey of the sky that will deliver a 200 petabyte set of images and data products that will address some of the most pressing questions about the structure and evolution of the universe and the objects in it. LSST will image the entire southern hemisphere of sky every 3 nights over ten years; each single snap shot will cover an area 40 times the size of the full moon. LSST will provide a thousand-fold increase in capability over current facilities, dramatically advancing our knowledge of the universe. LSST’s massive data archive will enable new ways of doing astrophysical research.

NSF logoLSST was the top-ranked large ground-based project in the 2010 Astrophysics Decadal Survey. Engineering first light is anticipated in 2020, followed by science first light in 2021 and full operations for a ten-year survey commencing in October 2022. AURA operates LSST for the National Science Foundation under a cooperative agreement.