A huge new telescope is in the works and the project is based right here in Arizona.
"We're doing a 10 year survey of the sky. We're going to turn the sky into a digital database" says Project Manager Victor Krabbendam.
It's called the Large Survey Synoptic Telescope. Once built it will be the largest digital camera in the world, taking pictures deep into the depths of the universe every 15 seconds. Now this project is in line to get into the federal budget thanks to approval from the National Science Board.
Krabbendam says it will take "$466 million for the full construction, for the 7 years of construction."
The mirror is already in the works at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona.
This is your tax dollars at work. Once built, you can tap into all the data from this telescope right from your computer, even your phone.
"Bring this to the household, to the classroom. That's the key in citizen science. There's a lot of things a lot of eyes can do" says Krabbendam.
Professional or amateur, it doesn't matter. You can track meteors flying through the solar system or distant starts pulsing with energy.
Krabbendam claims "We'll see millions of supernova. Every time a star explodes in a distant galaxy we'll be able to catch it."
The project itself has already created an explosion. Seed money from donors led to an early start on construction at a distant mountaintop in Chile.
Higher mountains, darker skies, and drier air mean Chile won the location of the telescope but the offices here in Tucson are home base.
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