AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 108 LSST
Poster, Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[108.01] The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Science Requirements

J. A. Tyson (University of California, Davis), LSST Team

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is a wide-field telescope facility that will add a qualitatively new capability in astronomy and will address some of the most pressing open questions in astronomy and fundamental physics. The 8.4-meter telescope and 3 billion pixel camera covering ten square degrees will reach sky in less than 10 seconds in each of 5-6 optical bands. This is enabled by advances in microelectronics, software, and large optics fabrication. The unprecedented optical throughput drives LSSTís ability to go faint-wide-fast. The LSST will produce time-lapse digital imaging of faint astronomical objects across the entire visible sky with good resolution.

For example, the LSST will provide unprecedented 3-dimensional maps of the mass distribution in the Universe, in addition to the traditional images of luminous stars and galaxies. These weak lensing data can be used to better understand the nature of Dark Energy. The LSST will also provide a comprehensive census of our solar system. By surveying deeply the entire accessible sky every few nights, the LSST will provide large samples of events which we now only rarely observe, and will create substantial potential for new discoveries. The LSST will produce the largest non-proprietary data set in the world.

Several key science drivers are representative of the LSST system capabilities: Precision Characterization of Dark Energy, Solar System Map, Optical Transients, and a map of our Galaxy and its environs. In addition to enabling all four of these major scientific initiatives, LSST will make it possible to pursue many other research programs. The community has suggested a number of exciting programs using these data, and the long-lived data archives of the LSST will have the astrometric and photometric precision needed to support entirely new research directions which will inevitably develop during the next several decades.


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