A Visit To The Most Important Survey Telescope Ever Built

Bruce Dorminey in Forbes:

Riding through the northern Chilean Andes, an incredibly rugged swath of desert that I’m sure in times gone by has tried men’s souls —- no one would ever suspect they were about to enter a prime ground-based window onto the Universe. It’s hardly the kind of landscape that evokes oohs and aahs for its beauty. But this dust-ridden land is home to some of the world’s greatest observatories. And by night, it offers an aperture onto the center of our own Milky Way and far-flung galaxies that literally stretch back to the beginning of time.

My driver and I, however, are headed to the $473 million Vera Rubin Observatory, formerly known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which has been under construction since 2014. This 8.4 meter extremely wide-field telescope is completely unprecedented, never before possible and never before attempted.

In just its first year of operation, the LSST organization says that the telescope will see more asteroids, stars, quasars, and galaxies and issue more alerts than all previous telescopes combined.

More here.