The Rubin Observatory LSST Camera is the largest digital camera ever constructed. At about 5.5 ft (1.65 m) by 9.8 ft (3 m), it's roughly the size of a small car and weighs almost 6200 lbs (2800 kg). It is a large-aperture, wide-field optical imager capable of viewing light from the near ultraviolet to near infrared (0.3-1 μm) wavelengths. The LSST Camera is designed to provide a 3.5-degree field of view, with its 10 μm pixels capable of 0.2 arcsecond sampling for optimized pixel sensitivity vs pixel resolution.
The image surface is flat with a diameter of approximately 25.2 in (64 cm). The detector format employs a mosaic of 189 16-megapixel silicon detectors arranged on 21 "rafts" to provide a total of about 3.2 gigapixels. The camera includes a filter-changing mechanism and shutter. It is positioned in the middle of the telescope where cross sectional area is constrained by optical vignetting (edge darkening) and heat dissipation must be controlled to limit lens-deforming thermal gradients in the incoming light.
The LSST Camera will produce data of extremely high quality with minimal downtime and maintenance.
Animations showing how the camera's shutters work (L) and how the filter-changing mechanism can robotically change camera filters (R).
Financial support for Rubin Observatory comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Support Agreement No. 1202910, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation. The NSF-funded Rubin Observatory Project Office for construction was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). The DOE-funded effort to build the Rubin Observatory LSST Camera (LSSTCam) is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science. NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.
NSF and DOE will continue to support Rubin Observatory in its Operations phase. They will also provide support for scientific research with LSST data.
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