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The world's largest camera will monitor the universe from Chile

The world's largest camera will monitor the universe from Chile

Northern Chile, one of the most suitable places for astronomical observations with its barren mountains and clear skies, is set to receive the largest astronomical camera ever built in the world with the hope of revolutionizing the study of the universe.

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The tail of a large screen and a 2.8-ton device, the dispositif will be installed on a telescope in construction and permeated the screen of the cable as it is up to par, submit to the AFP the responsibilities of the financial project presented by it. United State.

The giant camera, which costs about $800 million, will start taking its first pictures during the first half of 2025. Every three days, it will scan the sky, repeating the movement endlessly.



France Press agency

We will move from “studying a star and all the in-depth physics of that star to studying billions of stars simultaneously,” rejoices Bruno Dias, president of the Chilean Astronomical Society (Sochias).

“This will be a qualitative leap in astronomy,” says Stuart Corder, deputy director of the American research center NoirLab, which runs the observatory located at an altitude of more than 2,500 meters in Cerro Pachón, 560 kilometers north of the capital, Santiago.



The world's largest camera will monitor the universe from Chile

France Press agency

With this project, Chile strengthens its position in the field of astronomical observation, as a third of the most powerful telescopes on the planet have been installed on its territory, according to data from the Chilean Astronomical Society.

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The LSST (Legacy for Future Generations) camera should contain data on twenty million galaxies, 17 billion stars, and six million space objects in ten years.

Scientists will have a renewed catalog of images of the solar system, will be able to map the Milky Way and make progress in the study of energy and dark matter.



The world's largest camera will monitor the universe from Chile

France Press agency

300 TVs for one picture

The device will contain a 3,200-megapixel digital sensor, and to see one of its images it will take more than 300 medium-sized high-definition televisions combined.

The device is made in California, and will triple the capacity of the most powerful camera currently available, Japan's 870-megapixel Hyper Suprime-Cam. It will also be six times more powerful than NoirLab's most powerful current camera.

The telescope it will integrate has a mirror with a diameter of 8.4 metres. Long gone is the 40cm telescope that arrived in Chile more than 60 years ago, when the country's first international observatory was installed on Cerro Tololo in the 1960s.



The world's largest camera will monitor the universe from Chile

France Press agency

“This telescope arrived here on the back of a mule, because there was no road,” explains Stephen Heathcote, director of the Cerro Tololo Observatory, located about twenty kilometers from Cerro Pachón.

Capital of astronomy

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, named after the American astronomer who discovered dark matter and which will host the giant camera, is one of Chile's main astronomy centers.



The world's largest camera will monitor the universe from Chile

France Press agency

The natural conditions of the country's northern desert regions, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, generate the clearest skies on the planet, thanks to low cloud cover and a dry climate.

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Chile is home to telescopes from more than thirty countries, including some of the most powerful astronomical instruments in the world, such as the ALMA Space Telescope or the Extremely Large Telescope, the most powerful optical instrument ever built, which will observe distances from 2027 never before achieved.



The world's largest camera will monitor the universe from Chile

France Press agency

Although other countries such as the United States, Australia, China and Spain have also installed powerful observing equipment, “Chile is unbeatable” in the field of astronomy, says the president of the Chilean Astronomical Society.