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Space Input Devices Technology

World's Most Powerful Digital Camera Sees Construction Green Light 89

An anonymous reader writes: The Department of Energy has approved the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telecscope's 3.2-gigapixel digital camera, which will be the most advanced in the world. When complete the camera will weigh more than three tons and take such high resolution pictures that it would take 1,500 high-definition televisions to display one of them. According to SLAC: "Starting in 2022, LSST will take digital images of the entire visible southern sky every few nights from atop a mountain called Cerro Pachón in Chile. It will produce a wide, deep and fast survey of the night sky, cataloging by far the largest number of stars and galaxies ever observed. During a 10-year time frame, LSST will detect tens of billions of objects—the first time a telescope will observe more galaxies than there are people on Earth – and will create movies of the sky with unprecedented details. Funding for the camera comes from the DOE, while financial support for the telescope and site facilities, the data management system, and the education and public outreach infrastructure of LSST comes primarily from the National Science Foundation (NSF)."
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World's Most Powerful Digital Camera Sees Construction Green Light

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  • by Anonymous Coward


    • I can see a major use being patrol searches for possible Earth-colliding objects. Think of it as a follow-on to LONEOS.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      It's not so much what the DoE "gets" out of it as the LSST is being ran by Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) as part of the Stanford National Accelerator Laboratory, which is ran by the DoE. All of the national laboratories are ran under the DoE and do a lot more basic science research than just figuring out how to make nuclear reactions and seeing how fast they can smash particles together.

      From the bottom of the article:

      SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon scien

  • Distance? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @07:09PM (#50432217) Journal

    World's Most Powerful Digital Camera Sees Construction Green Light

    Yes, but how far away is the green light? If it's only a few feet away then the fact that the camera can see it really isn't such a big deal.

    • Seeing its own construction light would make that the world's biggest selfie. XXIst century priorities, you see...

      • Re:Distance? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Tuesday September 01, 2015 @02:12AM (#50434149)

        Seeing its own construction light would make that the world's biggest selfie. XXIst century priorities, you see...

        Speaking of selfies, by the time this is completed in 2027 (planned time + overruns), you'll be able to get the same resolution on the iPhone 23. It's like using computers for code-breaking, the best way to break crypto that takes ten years to attack is to wait 9 1/2 years and then do it in six months on the computer you can get then. The best way to get this camera is to wait until a year before it's due to be comissioned, then buy the sensors that'll be available then. Oh, and in the meantime you can be collecting interest on the money you're not spending.

        • I don't know about that. A couple of back-of-the-envelope computations make me think that 10 years is not a long enough timeframe to make such a camera anywhere near common. Consider, for instance, the 3 ton weight. Suppose that technology develops such that an equivalent sensor halves in weight every year. Ten years then represents halving the weight 10 times, giving a weight of approximately 6 lbs. That definitely isn't iPhone weight, and comes from a pretty optimistic assumption about how quickly th

    • "he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away"

    • But it can see its own light even before it's built.

      That's pretty impressive.

    • Green light from Hanny's Voorwerp [wikipedia.org] is quite far away, so they could aim for that.
    • By hearing i am so much astonished.
    • by GNious ( 953874 )

      Since it hasn't been built yet, seeing the light that triggers its own construction means that the camera is indeed far away - a few lightyears from Earth, at least.

    • Funny and true, I just spent a few seconds trying to figure out what sort of astronomical phenomenon was called 'construction green light' and how being up on a mountain would make it easier to view. I thought it had something to do with the green flashes [wikipedia.org].
  • We'll all be walking around with one in our smartphones.

  • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @07:36PM (#50432413) Journal

    here [energy.gov]. (Warning: 50 page graphics intensive PDF.)
    Optical path on page 26. 6Gb of raw data every 17 seconds (page 32).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      hmm, how will they store all the data? imagine even having to catalog it especially since only a tiny amount of the total data will be useful.

      • Should be quite simple compared to the LHC's data output.

        • by edremy ( 36408 ) on Monday August 31, 2015 @09:29PM (#50433081) Journal
          It's not. It's actually one of the biggest problems the LSST will have for a couple of reasons

          1) It's not in the middle of Europe, it's on a remote mountain in Chile. A bit harder to get super high speed internet up there

          2) The data off the LHC can mostly be analyzed by computer. While some of the LSST data can be (transient stuff), discovery of interesting new things is going to be a lot harder to automate, so trying to figure out how to get people to actually look at the torrent of info coming off of it will be a challenge.

          That said, they aren't very worried about the actual data itself- they are starting with a 150TFLOP computer to do the initial analysis and figure they will need about 950TFLOP after a decade of use, which is fast but not world record setting. ~60PB of info over a decade is doable with a variety of tech

          • 3) The LHC does not run as continuously as a telescope. Optical telescopes run 12x7x365.

          • To be fair, with respect to #1, that was an issue with the EVLA in the Atacama desert. It makes me chuckle to think about how seriously wired up that super remote chunk of the desert is getting.
          • Read again: 6Gb every 17 seconds (reading a big sensor is slow work)
            That's 353Mb/s, which neatly fits in a Gig-E pipe and can be recorded by the puniest 5" HDD out there.
            To sustain that rate for the whole night (10 hours or 36ks), you need about 12.7Tb of storage... a 3TB drive will do with room to spare.
            Build a good size RAID, put tape backup (you have the whole day), not exactly a challenge.

            (FYI, the LHC is many orders of magnitude higher: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/... [web.cern.ch])

  • Is the phrase "World's Most Powerful Digital Camera" carefully chosen to exclude the much larger cameras just above this world?
    (All, except one, looking down at us)

  • Gigapixels? (Score:2, Funny)

    by MouseR ( 3264 )

    How big is that in football fields?

  • What's the point of a gigapixel camera if there aren't resolutions high enough to display it? My knowledge of printing is fuzzy too but wouldn't you need a crazy printer to also print this type of image?
    • I imagine they'll look at, or process, a small part of the image at a time. If you eyes can only see a few megapixels at a time, and your GPU can only analyze a few megapixels at a time, "why not just take a thousand images of 10 megapixels each?" you might ask. Because the tax payers won't give you a half billion dollars if you do that. When the government is ready to hand you half a billion dollars, why not go ahead and have bragging rights to the highest resolution in a single image? At least u

    • So you can crop it. A lot.

    • by robi5 ( 1261542 )

      You can zoom and crop like this [htwins.net] and your prints will still be fine.

    • It's not about displaying. It's about analysing the results.

  • If they're not shooting any pr0n with this camera, I doubt it will catch on.

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