Taking the first 3,200-megapixel images of a variety of objects, including a head of Romanesco – a type of broccoli – that was chosen for its very detailed surface structure, was one of these tests. To do so without a fully assembled camera, the SLAC team used a 150-micron pinhole to project images onto the focal plane. These photos, which can be explored in full resolution online (links at the bottom of the release), show the extraordinary detail captured by the imaging sensors.
“Taking these images is a major accomplishment,” said SLAC’s Aaron Roodman, the scientist responsible for the assembly and testing of the LSST Camera. “With the tight specifications we really pushed the limits of what’s possible to take advantage of every square millimeter of the focal plane and maximize the science we can do with it.”
Camera team on the home stretch
More challenging work lies ahead as the team completes the camera assembly.
In the next few months, they will insert the cryostat with the focal plane into the camera body and add the camera’s lenses, including the world’s largest optical lens, a shutter and a filter exchange system for studies of the night sky in different colors. By mid-2021, the SUV-sized camera will be ready for final testing before it begins its journey to Chile.