The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will make the widest, deepest, fastest map of the universe ever. It will produce a video of the changing universe that will reveal everything from asteroids in our Solar System to exploding stars in the early universe and stars being disrupted by black holes in the centers of galaxies. The LSST survey will enable great advances in understanding the origin and evolution of our Solar System, mapping the form and structure of the Milky Way Galaxy, studying explosions and variable phenomena throughout the observable universe, and illuminating the physical nature of the dark matter and dark energy which make up 96% of the universe. The survey will also enable the discovery of completely new types of astronomical events.
The LSST is currently under construction on Cerro Pachón in the Chilean Andes with funding provided jointly by NSF and DOE. First light is planned for 2020, and the LSST will begin a ten-year survey of the Southern skies in 2022. It will have a primary mirror with a diameter of 8.4 meters, and an imaging camera which will observe 9.6 square degrees at a time, equivalent to almost 50 times the area of the full Moon.
I will describe the current status of the LSST and scientific opportunities it will provide for the astronomical community.