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Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST)

Rubin Observatory will take hundreds of images of the Southern Hemisphere sky, every night for ten years, for a survey called the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). The data from these images will be used by astronomers around the world to make countless discoveries, but Rubin Observatory was specifically designed to advance four science areas:

  • Understanding the nature of dark matter and dark energy
  • Creating an inventory of the Solar System
  • Mapping the Milky Way
  • Exploring the transient optical sky, i.e. studying objects that move or change in brightness

Rubin Observatory will produce about 20 terabytes of data every night during the ten-year survey. By the end of the survey, the resulting data set will be enormous—about 60 petabytes! Most of the astronomers who make discoveries using this data will never have seen the telescope in person. Instead, they will access the data using an online portal called the Rubin Science Platform. They won’t need expensive equipment or computing power, just an internet browser. This is the first time this much astronomical data will be available to so many people, and there’s no telling what discoveries scientists will make using Rubin Observatory!