This paper presents the design and science goals for the SkyMapper telescope. SkyMapper is a 1.3-m telescope featuring a 5.7-square-degree field-of-view Cassegrain imager commissioned for the Australian National University's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. It is located at Siding Spring Observatory, Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia and will see first light in late 2007.
The imager possesses 16 384 × 16 384 0.5-arcsec pixels. The primary scientific goal of the facility is to perform the Southern Sky Survey, a six-colour and multi-epoch (four-hour, one-day, one-week, one-month and one-year sampling) photometric survey of the southerly 2π sr to g ∼23 mag. The survey will provide photometry to better than 3% global accuracy and astrometry to better than 50 milliarcsec. Data will be supplied to the community as part of the Virtual Observatory effort. The survey will take five years to complete.