Large telescope, large data

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a very impressive project, both in the size of the telescope (8.4m 3 mirrors), the science to be conducted, the size of the camera (3.2 Gpixels worth of CCD imagers) and the amount of data that will be generated using it (estimated at 30 TB/night). That's a lot of data to manage. And I thought the 15TB/year of data we generate in Radiology was impressive.

The telescope will take movies of the night sky, with each frame of the movie consisting of a 15s exposure. The wide field lets the camera watch large sections of the sky while the large mirror lets the camera detect very faint objects. Multiple exposures can be added together to create the equivalent of a single long exposure image for deep field imaging.

Perhaps one of the more intriguing aspects of the project is that the data will be made freely available as it's generated for anybody to make use of.

Q: Will LSST imaging data be available world-wide for scientific use? A: Our goal is open-source, open-data. Currently US federal agencies and foundations support LSST R&D, and the LSST construction proposal is to a US agency. However, our goal is to make the LSST scientific data available world-wide. To realize this goal, we are working with foreign institutions and governments to share the costs. The ten LSST science collaborations are open to all US scientists, and hopefully soon to an increasing number of scientists in other countries.

This project is going to generate a lot of great data for astronomers to play with once it comes online.