The 8.4-meter LSST will survey the entire visible sky deeply in multiple colors every week with its three-billion pixel digital camera, probing the mysteries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and opening a movie-like window on objects that change or move rapidly: exploding supernovae, potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids, and distant Kuiper Belt Objects.
Plans for sharing the data from LSST with the public are as ambitious as the telescope itself. Anyone with a computer will be able to fly through the Universe, zooming past objects a hundred million times fainter than can be observed with the unaided eye. The LSST project will provide analysis tools to enable both students and the public to participate in the process of scientific discovery. We invite you to learn more about the science of LSST.
A large primary mirror, the world’s largest digital camera, images that cover 49 times the area of the Moon in a single exposure, the largest public data set in the world—LSST takes advantage of new technologies to provide a qualitatively new capability for astronomy.
A color movie of the universe.
A view of the whole visible southern sky and its changes over ten years.
Orbits of asteroids as small as 100 meters that might impact the Earth, properties of the dark energy that powers the accelerating expansion of the universe, 3-D mass maps of dark matter, how the Milky Way formed, the nature of rare, explosive events—all will be products of the LSST survey.
Work on the telescope and its Chilean site are underway.
A national scientific priority
The 8.4m Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a wide-field telescope facility that will add a qualitatively new capability in astronomy. For the first time, the LSST will provide time-lapse digital imaging of faint astronomical objects across the entire sky. The LSST has been identified as a national scientific priority in reports by diverse national panels, including several National Academy of Sciences and federal agency advisory committees. This judgment is based upon the LSST’s ability to address some of the most pressing open questions in astronomy and fundamental physics, while driving advances in data- intensive science and computing. View the current Baseline Configuration of the LSST or check out our overview paper.
New windows on the Universe
The LSST will provide unprecedented 3-dimensional maps of the mass distribution in the Universe, in addition to the traditional images of luminous stars and galaxies. These mass maps can be used to better understand the nature of the newly discovered and utterly mysterious Dark Energy that is driving the accelerating expansion of the Universe. The LSST will also provide a comprehensive census of our solar system, including potentially hazardous asteroids as small as 100 meters in size. Finally, LSST’s rapid scans of the sky will open the "time window", searching for faint bursts of light. You can try out the Exposure Time Calculator. Find out more from the Community Science Input and Participation page.
A Public-Private Partnership
The LSST is a Public-Private partnership, and the data will be made public immediately to the US, Chilean, and operational partner communities. The National Science Foundation is the lead Federal agency supporting the central project office, the telescope, site, data management and education and public outreach elements of the project, the Department of Energy provides the funding for the camera. Both agencies are currently supporting initial development with construction funding proposed but not approved at this time. A non-profit corporation, called the LSST Corporation, has been set up to establish the additional partnerships necessary for construction and operation as well as to work with the scientific community of over 400 scientists and engineers to maximize the scientific impact of the LSST. If you would like to be a part of this new voyage of discovery and help us fund the LSST Project, please contact the LSST Corporation.
If your scientific interests include LSST, consider joining or forming a Science Working Group.