The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, more commonly referred to as the LSST, will take ultra-high-resolution images of the universe around us in the relatively near future, thanks to recent construction approval from the US Department of Energy. This will pave the way for the telescope's completion for its anticipated 2022 completion date.

The LSST contains a 3.2 gigapixel (3200 megapixels) digital camera, which will be the largest in the world - in total, about the size of a small car. The focal plane uses 189 individual 16MP CCD sensors, organized into 3x3 groups referred to as 'rafts'. Each raft is a complete camera itself, but acts as a slave to the unit as a whole. Each pixel measures 10ยตm - for comparison, if pixels that size were used on a full frame sensor, it would give an 8.6MP chip, or a 0.25MP sensor in a compact camera.

The camera will be able to process 30TB of data every night, and will be equipped to alert researchers almost instantly if a celestial body has become dimmer or brighter, or has changed its position. The selection committee behind LSST has elected to put the telescope in Chile for the same reason other telescopes have been constructed in the region - low light pollution and a dry climate, for starters. From this position, LSST 'will image the entire visible sky every few nights', says the team. This massive telescope will be used to create a highly-detailed 3D map of the universe.