LSST Camera Arrives at Rubin Observatory

The largest camera ever built for astrophysics has arrived in Chile.

The pioneering 3200-megapixel LSST Camera has arrived at the observatory site on Cerro Pachón in Chile. Built at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California, the car-sized camera is due to be installed on the observatory’s Simonyi Survey Telescope. 

The $168 million camera will produce detailed images with a field of view seven times wider than the full moon. “Getting the camera to the summit was the last major piece in the puzzle,” said Victor Krabbendam, Project Manager for Rubin Observatory. “With all Rubin’s components physically on site, we’re on the home stretch towards transformative science with the LSST.” 

The shipping process began by mounting the incredibly sensitive camera to a custom shipping frame and wrapping it in plastic electrostatic discharge material to protect it from moisture. Using an overhead crane, the team installed the frame that holds the camera into a 20-foot shipping container lined with insulation to prevent overheating. Hardware was used to securely clamp the shipping frame directly to the container’s floor.

The shipping container was also outfitted with data loggers to monitor temperature, humidity, vibration, and accelerations throughout the trip. A GPS tracking system meant the team could pinpoint the camera’s location at any point on the journey.  

The LSST Camera is the final major component of Rubin Observatory’s Simonyi Survey Telescope to arrive at the Cerro Pachón summit. After several months of testing, it will be installed on the telescope along with the newly coated 8.4 metre primary mirror and 3.4 metre secondary mirror.  

Credit: Olivier Bonin/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Watch the video of the camera arriving at the summit.

Last updated: 31 May 2024 at 15:02