Rubin Observatory at AAS 237

January 25, 2021 - This year's AAS Winter Meeting (AAS 237), originally planned for Scottsdale, AZ, was held virtually on January 10-15th, 2021. As in past years, Rubin Observatory had a prominent presence at the meeting—although without a conference center, an exhibit hall, or chance encounters over coffee, things definitely felt different. Nevertheless, members of the Rubin team made productive use of the online meeting, hosting a virtual exhibit booth, an Open House, and several breakout sessions throughout the week.

Bridge Crane Installation

May 17, 2021 - Rubin Observatory now has a permanent, operational overhead bridge crane (OBC) in the dome, thanks to the combined efforts of many organizations and individuals. This 18-ton capacity OBC will be used to continue telescope assembly and system integration during construction, and will facilitate maintenance and repairs throughout Rubin Observatory operations.

Spectrograph Cinema

April 8, 2021 - After on-sky observations resumed in mid-January 2021, the Rubin Observatory Auxiliary Telescope (AuxTel) continued to collect images through the end of March, using the spectrograph mounted on the telescope. These images are being used to test and refine the hardware and software that will eventually enable the AuxTel to help Rubin Observatory produce more accurate data.

First LSST Camera Filter Arrives at SLAC

Travis Lange/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

March 23, 2021 - The first completed filter for the Rubin Observatory LSST Camera has arrived at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory! The r-band filter was delivered to SLAC on March 12th, marking an exciting milestone for the LSST Camera team.

TEA on the Summit

Tuesday, March 2nd was a day for some serious heavy lifting on the summit; the Top-End Assembly (TEA) for the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA) was lifted by crane into the observatory dome and installed on the TMA. The task was completed successfully and was a highly celebrated milestone for Rubin Observatory.

On-Sky Again - AuxTel Observations Resume

February 8, 2021 - So far 2021 has been exciting for the Rubin Construction project; after the rollout of new safety procedures, more personnel are returning to the summit and restarting activities that have been paused since the COVID-19 construction shutdown in March 2020. 

2020 Year in Review

2020 wasn’t the year any of us expected, but the Rubin Observatory Project reached some significant milestones despite challenges that affected travel and access to physical facilities. Here are some of the last twelve month’s achievements to celebrate: 

Announcement of our new name: Vera C. Rubin Observatory 

Rubin Observatory Premieres its New Logo

(Para la versión en español haga clic aquí)

Tucson, AZ, December 3, 2020. Vera C. Rubin Observatory is pleased to announce the release of its official logo following the organization’s renaming in December 2019. Formerly known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, Rubin Observatory was renamed, by an Act of Congress, to honor American astronomer Vera C. Rubin, a pioneer in the study of dark matter and an advocate for women in science.

Rubin Observatory Partners with Google Cloud on Interim Data Facility

A visual representation of the Rubin Science Platform in use with a background image of the Rosette Nebula

December 7, 2020 - Tucson, AZ and Coquimbo Region, Chile.
Rubin Observatory has finalized a three-year agreement to host its Interim Data Facility (IDF) on Google Cloud. The Rubin IDF will process astronomical data collected by Rubin Observatory in its commissioning phase, and make it available to the Rubin science community in advance of Rubin Observatory’s ten-year Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). The IDF will allow the Rubin Operations team to become operations-ready and the Rubin science community to be survey-ready when LSST begins in 2023.

Back on the Summit

A small group of Rubin Observatory staff has returned to the summit to restart limited construction activities.

October 20, 2020 - On September 28th, just over six months after the COVID-19 pandemic brought construction on Cerro Pachón to an unexpected halt, the Rubin Observatory team was able to restart limited construction activities on the summit. This “Phase 1” restart was the result of months of preparation and hard work by the Rubin team, all with the goal of ensuring workers’ health and safety as they returned to work. A thorough review was conducted in conjunction with AURA and NOIRLab prior to the restart. The review determined that the Rubin Observatory Construction Project, as well as the existing observatories on Cerro Pachón and Cerro Tololo, had successfully implemented the appropriate safety protocols and that limited activities could resume at the summit facilities.


Financial support for Rubin Observatory comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Agreement No. 1258333, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation. The NSF-funded Rubin Observatory Project Office for construction was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).  The DOE-funded effort to build the the Rubin Observatory LSST Camera (LSSTCam) is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science. NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.
NSF and DOE will continue to support Rubin Observatory in its Operations phase. They will also provide support for scientific research with LSST data.   

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