The Vera C. Rubin Observatory will use the world’s largest digital camera to capture the far reaches of the universe, and in the process, hope to tackle some of the most fundamental questions in science today.
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The Vera C. Rubin Observatory is the first national observatory to have been named for a woman and it currently houses the world’s largest optical lens ever built.
Measuring 1.55 meters in diameter, this piece of glass is one of three lenses that will be the eyes for a new astronomical camera. The optical lens weighs more than 3 tons and has an enormous field of view, where light from billions of galaxies will come into focus. By recording images of the entire sky every few days, this camera will produce a time-lapse movie of the universe.
In this Focal Point, we hear from Cosmologist Daniel Gruen, PhD, from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and Stuart Marshall, a camera operator physicist, to learn more about what this massive digital camera has to offer. Watch to find out!
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Miguel Aragon-Calvo, UNAM, Mark SubbaRao, Adler Planetarium, Alex Szalay, JHU
Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time
“During the first 10 years of operations, Rubin Observatory will conduct the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) of the entire southern sky and provide the widest, fastest and deepest views of the night sky ever observed.”
Engineering the world’s largest digital camera
“The camera is a combination of many extremes. Its largest lens is one of the biggest ever created for astronomy and astrophysics. The ceramic grid that will hold its imaging sensors is so flat that no feature larger than a human red blood cell sticks up from its surface. The electronics that control the sensors are customized to fit in a very tight space and use as little power as possible.”
First national US observatory to be named after a woman!
“It was announced today that the upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which will conduct a vast astronomical survey for unprecedented discovery of the deep and dynamic Universe, will now be named the NSF (National Science Foundation) Vera C. Rubin Observatory (Rubin Observatory).”
Four New Giant Telescopes Are About to Rock Astronomy
“Now, astronomers stand on the threshold of a new telescope revolution. During the next several years, researchers expect three instruments that are more than twice the size of their closest competitors to start scanning the skies. And a fourth telescope, one “only” 8 meters in diameter, will use advanced technology to image the entire night sky every three days. This quartet of new instruments promises to deliver stunning science on the hot-button issues.”
Our scientific understanding of the universe is advancing at an unprecedented rate. Join Focal Point as we meet the people building tomorrow’s world. Witness the astonishing discoveries that will propel humanity forward and zero-in on the places where science-fiction becomes science-reality.
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