Blogs

The LSST-French Connection: Signed and Tweeted!

As announced on French social media, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope has formalized its scientific and technical collaboration with the French with a pair of signed agreements. On March 5, 2015, representatives from the Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3) of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the LSST Corporation (LSSTC), SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the LSST Project Office (LSSTPO), and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, met in Paris, France to sign two agreements solidifying partnerships related to the construction, operations, and exploitation of the LSST. 

LSST M1M3 Successful Mirror Lift

In a carefully executed multi-day procedure, the LSST primary/tertiary (M1M3) mirror was successfully placed in its storage container at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The operation went flawlessly and now the $20 million mirror substrate waits for transfer to a temporary storage facility in Tucson where the LSST team will conduct additional integrated testing before final shipment to Chile in the coming years.

LSST Mirror Turns Blue

It’s not the frigid cold temperatures being experienced by much of the county this week, but rather a thin coating of polyethylene that has turned the LSST primary/tertiary mirror (M1M3) a vibrant shade of blue. This coating has been applied to protect the mirror as it is prepared for delivery and final acceptance. Formal delivery is expected in early April when the LSST Project will take responsibility for the mirror in its shipping container and move it to a secure facility for storage. The mirror is expected to remain in storage for approximately two years until the operational mirror support cell is fabricated, at which time the mirror and mirror cell can be integrated and tested before being shipped to Chile.

BNL Demonstrates First Successful Operation of a Test Camera

In early February, a team working on the LSST Camera project at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) demonstrated the first successful operation of a test camera using a "vertical slice" of the final camera sensors and electronics. The test assembly contained prototype CCDs and one 48-channel raft electronic board, all housed in a developmental model of the Commissioning Camera cryostat. The raft sensor assembly was set at -100C, and the electronics sink was set at -10C. Using a variety of optical and electronic stimuli, the team found all 48 channels reading out and meeting critical performance specifications for noise, crosstalk and linearity.

New Year Adds Three More to LSST Team

Travel Administrator Laurie Thomas joined the LSST Project Office (LSSTPO) in January. As Travel Administrator, Laurie is responsible for ensuring all LSSTPO travel complies with federal regulations as well as AURA and LSST policies and procedures. She will help manage a strategic approach to travel by coordinating all staff travel arrangements and by processing all travel expense reports. She is already working with the AURA Procurement Manager to launch a new Concur travel platform that can eventually be shared with other AURA centers. Prior to LSST, Laurie worked for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) for 15 years, the last eight as Manager for Travel and Meeting Services.

Webcam Offers View of LSST Construction Progress

The lsst.org Gallery now has a page dedicated to images from a recently reactivated webcam with a view of the LSST site on the Cerro Pachon summit. The images provide a window onto the summit facilities' construction progress. The web page image refreshes every minute; also available are time lapse animations - one with a series of images captured at hourly intervals and one with each image captured at the one-minute interval. The webcam Gallery page is here: http://www.lsst.org/lsst/gallery/construction-webcam.

 

Subscale Refrigeration System Testing Successful

Testing of a subscale LSST Camera refrigeration system at SLAC has demonstrated the ability to run reliably for extended periods at consistent, acceptable temperature and power use. During study periods of typically 10 days, the system has run reliably at approximately -128 degrees Celsius with a total load of about 87.5 Watts. The subscale test began in June 2014 in order to simulate more realistic camera geometry and operations.

LSST Site Transferred to Summit Facility Contractor

LSST Summit Facility general contractor, Besalco, has officially taken possession of the Cerro Pachon site in order to begin the construction effort. Going forward, the LSST site now is an active construction site with all of the consequent safety rules and restrictions in effect. In particular, access to the site by project person now must be pre-approved by Besalco. The official handover document was signed by AURA and Besalco representatives on January 5. Since the handover, Besalco and Rocterra staff have received orientation and accreditation, and both parties’ administrative offices have mobilized to the summit. Physical movement of earth by excavation contractor Rocterra on the telescope platform begins today, January 16.

LSST Camera Receives Funding Approval

January 9, 2015 - The LSST project has achieved another significant milestone. The baseline for fabrication of the 3,200 megapixel digital camera has received key “Critical Decision 2” approval from the DOE. The LSST team can now move forward with the development of the camera and prepare for the “Critical Decision 3” review process this summer, the last requirement before actual fabrication of the camera can begin.

Happy Holidays

December 19, 2014 - Dear Colleagues, 2014 has been an exciting year for LSST with or federal construction start underway at last. Thank you for your contributions to that success and best wishes for the New Year. Happy Holidays. (Estimados colegas, Este ha sido un año emocionante para LSST con nuestra construcción federal en marcha al fin.  Gracias por sus contribuciones para realizar este éxito y los mejores deseos para el Año Nuevo.  ¡Felices Fiestas!)

Steve Kahn, LSST Director

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Financial support for LSST 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 LSST 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 LSST camera 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.


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