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28 September 2004 Project status of the 8.4-m LSST
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The 8.4m Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a wide-field telescope facility that will add a qualitatively new capability in astronomy. For the first time, the LSST will provide time-lapse digital imaging of faint astronomical objects across the entire sky. The LSST has been identified as a national scientific priority by diverse national panels, including multiple National Academy of Sciences committees. This judgment is based upon the LSST's ability to address some of the most pressing open questions in astronomy and fundamental physics, while driving advances in data-intensive science and computing. The LSST will provide unprecedented 3-dimensional maps of the mass distribution in the Universe, in addition to the traditional images of luminous stars and galaxies. These mass maps can be used to better understand the nature of the newly discovered and utterly mysterious Dark Energy that is driving the accelerating expansion of the Universe. The LSST will also provide a comprehensive census of our solar system, including potentially hazardous asteroids as small as 100 meters in size. The LSST facility consists of three major subsystems: 1) the telescope, 2) the camera and 3) the data processing system. The baseline design for the LSST telescope is a 8.4m 3-mirror design with a 3.5 degree field of view resulting in an A-Omega product (etendue) of 302deg2m2. The camera consists of 3-element transmisive corrector producing a 64cm diameter flat focal plane. This focal plane will be populated with roughly 3 billion 10μm pixels. The data processing system will include pipelines to monitor and assess the data quality, detect and classify transient events, and establish a large searchable object database. We report on the status of the designs for these three major LSST subsystems along with the overall project structure and management.
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