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In this issue:
Taking Pictures of the Sky with LSST
Colloquium Today: Accelerator Innovations for Science and Medicine

SLAC Today

Monday - February 14, 2011

(Image - LSST sketch)
Artist rendering of LSST on Cerro Pachon, Chile. (Image: Michael Mullen Design, LSST Corporation.)

Taking Pictures of the Sky with LSST

One of the commenters on our very first post wanted to hear more about the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, one of the three cosmological projects that involve Brookhaven Lab. Set high on a mountaintop in Chile, LSST will be a very big and expensive ground-based telescope. Planning for the project started near the end of the 20th century and the experiment probably won't start taking data in a scientific manner until 2020.

The story is that at a decadal survey 10 years ago, the person who first proposed that the word "synoptic" be used in the project's name had a misunderstanding about what synoptic really means. Either way, the name has stuck. Synoptic, by the way, comes from Greek word "synopsis" and refers to looking at something from all possible aspects, which is precisely what LSST will do.

Astronomical survey instruments fall broadly under two categories: imaging instruments that take photos of the sky, and spectroscopic instruments that take spectra (that is, distribution of light across wavelengths) of a selected few objects in the sky. LSST falls into the first category—it will take many, many images of the sky in the five bands, which are a bit like colors, from ultra-violet light to infrared light.

What's special about LSST is the amazingly large field of view and cadence. The field of view of LSST is the size of the sky that it can observe at the same time and is about 3.5 degrees in diameter. You could fit the Moon seven times across this large field of view. This, of course, means that if you want to have great detail in these images, you need a lot of pixels. The LSST camera will have resolution of 3200 megapixels, about a thousand times more than an average consumer camera.

Read more from Quantum Diaries...

Colloquium Today: Accelerator Innovations for Science and Medicine

(Image - SLAC Colloquium banner)

Today at 4:15 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium, SLAC accelerator scientist Eric Colby will present "Accelerator Innovations for Science and Medicine."

The need for accelerators with ever-higher energy and intensity for high-energy physics and basic energy science has driven impressive innovations in accelerator technology. Established techniques have been significantly improved, and new techniques offering radically different beam properties have been developed. It is often the case, however, that such innovations are slow to reach industrial and medical practice, owing to the cost and inherent risk of the R&D required to translate laboratory machines into turnkey systems. Colby will discuss accelerator innovations and their promise for improving patient outcomes, and will outline a Bay Area initiative to put these innovations into practice at a new particle therapy center that will serve Northern California.

The event is free and open to all.




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