The Infinite Telescope
A documentary by Alison Rose
Nine thousand feet up a mountain in Chile, an extraordinary machine is being built that will change the way we see the Universe and ourselves.
The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope () will be the ultimate telescope of its kind, and the science from it will be infinite. Funded by the US government, with $30-million in seed financing from philanthropists Bill Gates and Charles Simonyi, this billion-dollar telescope will push the state-of-the-art in software and hardware to move more quickly and see more widely than ever before, and as deeply as there is anything to see. It will capture hurtling near-earth asteroids, exploding stars, colliding black holes, and dark energy accelerating the expansion of the Universe. It will take the biggest pictures ever taken, every 15 to 30 seconds and keep every image, and at the end of 10 years it will produce an enormous time-lapse movie of the evolving Universe.
LSST’s observations will be optimized to serve all kinds of scientific questions and make the pictures available to scientists and citizens in the whole world. Everyone could work on the science from the LSST forever, and would never run out of discoveries.
The Infinite Telescope will be an on-going series of short, shareable videos and podcasts to begin in late 2019, following a diversity of people building and preparing for the LSST, from project director Steve Kahn to science collaboration coordinator Federica ‘Fed’ Bianco. The series will culminate in a theatrical documentary feature film and broadcast special that will premiere when the LSST begins its observing run: October 1, 2022. Inigo Films will donate its archive of broadcast quality, 4K & 8K images and interviews to the LSST, the American Institute of Physics, and/or to the National Archives. The images will be placed in the public domain in perpetuity, and enable future generations to tell stories about the scientific discoveries made with the LSST.
Inigo Films is pursuing seed financing to film once-in-a-lifetime milestones this year in Spain, France, the UK, the United States, Panama, Chile, Australia and Canada, while it raises full financing for the complete documentary project. The total development and pre-production budget is $380,000 USD. This will cover filming in 2019-20 on location as massive components of the telescope move to the remote mountain summit; the world’s largest camera is manufactured in a clean room in Stanford, California; the telescope’s unique and challenging software is developed in Princeton, Tucson and Seattle; and scientists world-wide prepare for LSST.
Inigo Films is dedicated to communicating the science – and the joys – of astronomy. Given our expertise, we were asked by the LSST in 2017 to make a short 8K film of the summit with interviews with the leading scientists. This began our development of this project. Our intimate knowledge of the telescope and the trust of the key characters give us unique access to this story.
Acclaim for Inigo Films’ Star Men:
★★★★THE GUARDIAN ★★★★EMPIRE ★★★★THE TIMES ★★★★TOTAL FILM ★★★★THE EVENING STANDARD
★★★★THE SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE MAGAZINE
Indie Film Spotlight★★★★NOW Magazine
‘… this deceptive documentary
…coalesces into something …profound
…an elegiac film amid stunning scenery.’
‘… it’s the easy humor and camaraderie on show
… that offers the real insight into our place in the Universe.’
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Critic’s Choice, Pick of the Day – The Times
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