Opening a Window of Discovery on the Dynamic Universe

LSST Telescope & Site

Two renderings combine to create this image of the LSST summit facility and Calypso, the small adjacent atmospheric telescope.

The subsystem comprising the telescope and site includes, in addition to the telescope, the buildings and facilities needed to support both operations and maintenance of the LSST.

Light gathered by the telescope is funneled through a unique three-mirror, three-lens optical assembly to the world's largest CCD camera. The telescope's guiding system ensures that it remains locked on a star field with pinpoint accuracy for the necessary exposure times. In addition, the telescope's active optics system allows to change the shape of the different mirrors to constantly improve the image quality. Light baffles, wind protection, and thermal controls with natural ventilation and daytime cooling mitigate environmental issues such as ambient light, wind, and large variations in temperature, which can all affect image quality.

The LSST telescope and facility are designed to be highly automated, requiring little human intervention. During observing, the telescope will be controlled by a sophisticated LSST observatory scheduler, while an operator will always be on duty at the summit and researchers can monitor progress in real-time at any remote operation center. Limited summit staff will also be available to ensure safe operation and troubleshoot as needed.

This model is our first attempt at using the measurements taken on site in February 2016 with a drone to create a 3D map of the LSST summit construction on Cerro Pachon (Chile). This is a first step towards capturing the progress of the construction in 3D. We expect to continue this process after recording more recent data.

LSST Construction by jsebag on Sketchfab

Image Credit: 
LSST Project Office 2013

Financial support for LSST comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Agreement No. 1258333, 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 LSST 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 LSST camera is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC). 


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