The Blanco telescope and dome are shown to the left. To give a sense of the immense scale of the telescope, compare its size to the human highlighted by the red circle. The green circle indicates the prime focus cage where the DES imaging device, DECam, will be installed. The Blanco is ideally suited to receive this new device because it was originally built to hold a heavy load at this top end. When it was built, people rode in the prime focus cage and took astronomical pictures using heavy glass photographic plates. Now, DECam will be taking pictures of roughly the same size with electronic CCD's.
In addition to its use for the Dark Energy Survey, DECam will be a facility instrument on the Blanco telescope. This means it will be available for general use by the astronomical community, providing an order of magnitude increase in reach over the current Blanco imager, MOSAIC II.