Imaging sensor array, including Vera Rubin’s SUV-shaped focal plane Digital camera, Recently pulled 3,200-megapixel images during a recent test at the Department of Energy (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. (“SLAC” is the original name for the feature “Stanford Linear Accelerator Center”.)
The photos are the largest single-shot photos ever, SLAC officials said – so large that just one of them would require 378 4K ultra-high-definition TVs to show at full size. The resolution is so good that a golf ball will be seen from 15 miles (25 kilometers) away.
Vera Rubin: Astronomer who brought dark matter to light
However, the first images do not show distant golf balls. The SLAC team that is building Vera Rubin’s LSTS (Legacy Survey of Space and Time) camera focused on nearby objects, including a Romanesco broccoli, whose intricately textured surface allowed the sensor to encapsulate its contents Granted.
SLAC scientist Aaron Rudman, who is responsible for the assembly and testing of the LSTT camera, said, “Taking these images is a major achievement.” “With tight specifications, we really pushed the limits of what is possible to take advantage of each square millimeter of the focal plane and maximize the science we can do with it.”
Like imaging sensors in your Cell phone Camera, the focal plane of an LSST camera converts an object emitted or reflected by light into electrical signals that produce a digital photo. But the LSST camera’s imaging core is far larger, more complex and more capable than any consumer electronic product.
The newly tested focal plane is more than 2 feet (0.6 m) wide and 189 individual sensors or charge-coupled devices (CCDs). CCDs and their associated electronics are mounted in 21 separate “rafts”, which are approximately 2 feet long. (9 kg) and cost up to $ 3 million.
The raft was built at the Brookhaven National Laboratory of DOE in New York and then moved to SLAC. In January 2020, the SLAC team finished slotting 21 sensor-bearing rafts, along with another four specialized rafts not used for imaging, in their designated locations in the focal-plane grid, a precise and neural- The wipe process which took six months.
The raft is incredibly tightly packed to maximize the imaging area of the focal plane; SLAC officials said the gap between CCDs on neighboring rafts is less than the width of five human hairs. And the sensors break easily when they touch each other.
related: World’s Largest Telescopes: How They Stack
“The combination of high stakes and agile endurance has made this project very challenging,” said SLAC mechanical engineer Hannah Polek, a member of the sensor-integration team. “But with a versatile team, we liked it very much.”
The newly released images are part of extensive, ongoing tests designed to tailor the focal plane, which has not yet been installed on the LSTS camera. This integration phase will take place over the next few months, as will the addition of camera lenses and other key components, if all goes according to plan.
SLAC officials said the camera should be ready for final testing by the middle of next year. It will then be shipped to the Chilean Andes, Where Vera c. Rubin Observatory is being built.
The observatory, formerly known as the Large Synthic Survey Telescope, will use its 27.6-foot-wide (8.4 m) mirror and 3.2 billion-pixel camera for a 10-year study of the universe – a legacy survey of space at that time. For which the camera is named. The camera will generate a panorama of the southern sky every few nights, with an astronomical treasure hunt involving imagery of about 20 billion Galaxies.
“These data will improve our knowledge of how galaxies have evolved over time and allow us to test our model Dark matter And dark energy Project scientist Steven Ritz of LSST Camera at the University of California at Santa Cruz said more depth and precision than ever before.
“The observatory would be an amazing facility for a wide range of sciences – from detailed studies of our solar system to studying objects at the edge of the visible universe away from the universe,” Ritz said.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the discovery of alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.