Larger mirrors aren’t the only key to building a game-changing telescope. The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will measure just 8.4 meters in diameter (which is still pretty huge), but what it lacks in size it makes up for with scope and speed.
As a survey telescope, it’s designed to scan the entire night sky rather than focus on individual targets — only it will do so every few nights, using Earth’s largest digital camera to record colorful, time-lapse movies of the sky in action.
The 8.4-meter LSST will survey the sky deeply, probing the mysteries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and opening a movie-like window on objects that change or move rapidly: exploding supernovae, potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids, and distant Kuiper Belt Objects.
Construction on the LSST could start this year, and it’s scheduled to begin operation in 2022.