Everything we'd like to do with LSST data, but we don't know (yet) how [IMA]

Here’s a nice little summary paper (via arXiver) covering the data challenges posed by the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) which will come online in 2020 or thereabouts.

To give a bit of a perspective, when the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) began to collect astronomical data in 2000, it amassed more in its first few weeks than all data collected in the entire history of astronomy to that date.

Continuing at a rate of about 200 GB per night, SDSS has subsequently amassed more than 140 terabytes of information.

When LSST, which is in many ways a successor to SDSS, comes online it is expected to acquire that amount of data every five days…



The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), the next-generation optical imaging survey sited at Cerro Pachon in Chile, will provide an unprecedented database of astronomical measurements. The LSST design, with an 8.4m (6.7m effective) primary mirror, a 9.6 sq. deg. field of view, and a 3.2 Gigapixel camera, will allow about 10,000 sq. deg. of sky to be covered twice per night, every three to four nights on average, with typical 5-sigma depth for point sources of $r$=24.5 (AB). With over 800 observations in $ugrizy$ bands over a 10-year period, these data will enable a deep stack reaching $r$=27.5 (about 5 magnitudes deeper than SDSS) and faint time-domain astronomy. The measured properties of newly discovered and known astrometric and photometric transients will be publicly reported within 60 sec after observation. The vast database of about 30 trillion observations of 40 billion objects will be mined for the unexpected and used…

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