Opening a Window of Discovery on the Dynamic Universe

LSST Information for Scientists

The detailed mass distribution in the cluster CL0024 is shown, with gravitationally distorted graph paper overlaid. Credit: G.Kochanski, T.Tyson; Bell Labs / LSST

Many fundamental problems in astrophysics, from planetary science to cosmology, can be addressed through similar data sets consisting of multiple exposures in superb seeing, in a number of standard passbands, to very faint magnitudes over a large area of sky. The key insight leading to the LSST is that data from a single active optics telescope with sufficient etendue (the product of aperture area in square meters and field of view in square degrees) can address all of these scientific missions simultaneously. In addition, by providing unprecedented sky coverage, cadence, and depth, the 8.4 meter LSST makes it possible to attack high-priority scientific questions that are far beyond the reach of any existing facility. The 30 terabytes of data obtained each night will open a new window on the deep optical universe - the time domain - enabling the study of variability both in position and time. This enables control of systematics required for precision probes of dark energy. Rarely observed events will become commonplace, new and unanticipated events will be discovered, and the combination of LSST with contemporary space-based missions will provide powerful synergies. The full-sky, high-time-resolution coverage of LSST will increase sample sizes by the largest factor ever achieved in optical astronomy.

Forum for Community Discussion

November 19, 2015 - LSST invites the astronomy community to join us at The LSST Community forum is an open platform for learning about LSST, asking questions, and participating in LSST's development... read more

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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