This 3200MP Digital Camera Is So Big Scientists Needed A Crane To Put It Together

3200mp camera
The Rubin Observatory LSST Camera is the world's largest digital camera to ever be constructed. The 3200 megapixel camera is being assembled to take images for Rubin Observatory's 10-year Legacy Survey of Space and Time.

When one thinks about a camera, thoughts of a handheld mirrorless or a smartphone camera probably come to mind. But when you are wanting to gather a 500 petabyte set of images and data in order to delve further into things such as probing dark energy and dark matter, you are going to need something a lot more powerful and reliable. Especially when you take into account that it must produce extremely high-resolution images with minimal downtime and maintenance. This is why the Rubin Observatory LSST Camera was created.

camera 3200mp

The massive 3200 megapixel camera, which can spot a golf ball at a distance of 15 miles away, will be the eye of a new telescope at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile. Scientists are predicting the powerful camera will help unveil 17 billion new stars, along with 6 billion other new objects in our very own solar system.

At the beginning of April, the LSST Camera team successfully attached the Cryostat to the camera body. This concluded bringing the three primary structures—the Cryostat, the Utility Trunk, and the Camera Body—together for the first time. Since then the team has been testing the camera shutter and the filter exchange system.

Putting the last piece of the puzzle in place was no easy task. It required the aid of four lifts, which involved a combination of six custom-built lift and support fixtures, two off-the-shelf spreader beams, and a large amount of rigging equipment. All of the custom equipment was built and tested in house.

The camera has not reached its final destination, however. Before making its final journey, it will require one final modification—the installation of an updated refrigeration system—before making its way to its home in Chile in May of 2023.

"(It) will enable us to see things on timescales that haven't been accessible before," remarked Risa Wechsler, a professor of Physics at Stanford University. "It enables us to ask really big questions. What is the universe made of? What is the nature of dark matter and dark energy?"