The world’s most powerful camera is bigger than a car and will take pictures of galaxies

The world's most powerful camera is bigger than a car and will take pictures of galaxies

The world’s largest digital camera has been unveiled in the United States, which will be used in an astronomical observatory to help catalog galaxies. At 1.65m tall, it’s taller than most model cars on the streets.

The camera was shown to the press for the first time this week by scientists at the Stanford Linear Acceleration Center (SLAC) Laboratory in the US state of California. The lab is operated by Stanford University, under the direction of the US Department of Energy, a government agency.

The installation of the equipment is part of the LSST project, which stands for “Large Synoptic Research Telescope”, developed by scientists at Stanford. Over a 10-year period, it is expected to help catalog around 20 billion galaxies, giving humanity more knowledge on topics such as how these galaxies form and the nature of dark matter.

How is she

In terms of functionality, the LSST camera is the same as any other digital camera. The difference, of course, is in its colossal size. With its 189 sensors, it must collect light from objects such as stars and convert it into electrical signals so that they can form digital images.

Each of these sensors measures around 16 millimeters and each has more pixel capacity than a single iPhone. In fact, you could say that taking photos with it would be like producing a single image using 2,666 iPhones together.

In total, the camera has 3.2 gigapixels, or 3.2 billion pixels. With this powerful equipment, the camera is expected to have a resolution capable of recording a single dust particle on the Moon.

The LSST camera is 1.65 meters tall and filming with it would be like producing a single image using 2,666 iPhones together

Image: Jacqueline Ramseyer Orrell/SLACLab

Its largest lens has a diameter of 1.56 m, making it one of the largest lenses ever produced by mankind. Obviously, making such a camera has a very high financial cost. According to Vincent Riot, project manager for the development of the camera, placing each sensor was like “parking Lamborghinis a few millimeters from each other”: a badly positioned sensor could damage the others, and would lead to an extremely costly loss. .

Before departing for Chile aboard a Boeing 747, the camera will undergo a series of rigorous tests while remaining in the United States. It is necessary to make some adjustments before the final installation, because once fixed on the top of a mountain, it will be much more difficult to solve the problems.

The camera should be installed at the end of 2024 in Chile which, due to its mountainous terrain, is already home to several important astronomical observatories. In the case of this specific camera, it will be placed at the Vera C Observatory. insist onat the top of Cerro pachona mountain in the Andean region of coquinbo. This way, the camera will be at a height of about 2,715 meters above sea level.

*With information from New Scientist

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