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

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory (Rubin Observatory), 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 Rubin Observatory 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. The Rubin Observatory 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. The Rubin Observatory will provide a thousand-fold increase in capability over current facilities, dramatically advancing our knowledge of the universe. Rubin’s massive data archive will enable new ways of doing astrophysical research.

The Rubin Observatory operations will be coordinated and managed by NSF’s OIR Lab.

The Rubin Observatory 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 the Vera C. Rubin Observatory for the National Science Foundation under a cooperative agreement.

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