The LSST camera that researchers are designing will be the world’s biggest camera with the biggest image sensor. This camera will be part of the University Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) telescope based in Chile. Researchers will integrate it with the Rubin LSST telescope to research invisible matter, invisible energies, the actual structure of the universe, and other space-stuffs.
A Sensor Comprised of 189 Individual Sensors
But, as an initial test for the special sensor of the LSST camera, the researchers took a few pictures of it. Any of these images is “so huge that it will take 378 4 K ultra-high-definition TV screens to view one of them in full size, and their resolution is so high that you might see a golf ball about 15 miles away,” reads the official blog post of the SLAC team.
Now, the “focal plane,” which is the actual sensor for the LSST camera, comprises 189 individual image sensors, each capable of generating a 16-megapixel image. These individual sensors, also known as charge-coupled devices (CCDs), can capture images equivalent to any existing digital camera.
So, these CCDs and the supporting elements come as units called “rafts” by the squad. There are two types of rafts in the “focal plane” of the camera.
“The 21 square rafts (centre), each containing nine sensors, will generate photographs for the science programme of the Rubin Observatory. An additional four specialised rafts (left) with just three sensors each will be used for camera focusing and synchronisation of the Earth’s rotation telescope, “reads the article.
The First 3200-Megapixel Images
Now, to capture the first collection of images, the researchers took the “focal plane,” put inside a cryostat, and cooled the sensors to a negative 150-degree Fahrenheit, which is their necessary operating temperature.
For the photos, the team used a number of objects, including “Romanesco ‘s head – a type of broccoli – chosen for its very precise surface structure.”
You will display the five 3200-megapixel images in full resolution from the links below.
- Head of Romanesco.
- Photo of the Flammarion engraving.
- Photo of Vera Rubin, courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science, where Vera Rubin spent her career as a staff scientist.
- Collage of LSST Camera team photos.
- Collage of logos of institutions involved in the LSST Camera project.
And if you’re intrigued enough, you can also find out all the technical information and functions of these pictures from here.