One cool camera—LSST's cryostat assembly completed

August 3, 2018 by Andy Freeberg & Farrin Abbott, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
One cool camera: LSST’s cryostat assembly completed
The cryostat provides the optical bench (a silicon carbide grid) which keeps the large 65cm diameter focal plane - composed of 189 CCD imaging sensors - flat to within just a tenth of the width of a human hair, while simultaneously cooling them uniformly to minus 150 degrees Fahrenheit. It also provides cooling for their readout electronics which reside just behind the focal plane. And finally, it maintains all this hardware in a clean, contaminant-free, high-vacuum environment. Credit: Andy Freeberg/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Work on the camera for the future Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) has reached a major milestone with the completion and delivery of the camera's fully integrated cryostat. With 3.2 gigapixels, the LSST camera will be the largest digital camera ever built for ground-based astronomy. It's being assembled at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

The cryostat provides the optical bench—a silicon carbide grid—that keeps the large focal plane, which is 65 centimeters in diameter and composed of 189 CCD imaging sensors, flat to within just a tenth of the width of a human hair, while uniformly cooling it to minus 150 degrees Fahrenheit. It also provides cooling (to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit) for the sensors' readout electronics, which reside just behind the focal plane. And finally it maintains all this hardware in a clean, contaminant-free, high-vacuum environment.

With the LSST camera, scientists will be able to capture images of the entire Southern sky every few days for a period of 10 years, which will produce petabytes of unprecedented astrophysical data.

The is now located in LSST's primary clean room at SLAC, where it's undergoing vacuum testing. The entire is scheduled to be shipped to its final home on a mountaintop in Chile in 2020.

This video highlights recent work on the LSST cryostat. Credit: Farrin Abbott/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Credit: Andy Freeberg/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
One cool camera: LSST’s cryostat assembly completed
Credit: Andy Freeberg/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

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