Happy Holidays from LSST

Welcome Chuck Gessner, LSST Head of Safety

December 17, 2013 – Charles (Chuck) Gessner has joined the LSST Project Office as Head of Safety. Chuck has a long relationship with the LSST project, having acted as volunteer LSST safety manager since 2007 while employed by National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). He was instrumental in both recruiting experts to join the LSST Safety Council and in establishing the LSST safety program he will now oversee full-time.

Chuck has more than 25 years of experience providing safety expertise, risk assessment, procedure development, training, and safety program management. Before joining NOAO in 2002, he worked for both Magma Copper Company and Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. as head of safety. In addition to his proficiency in program implementation, standards development, and compliance, Chuck has managed and mentored more than 40 respected safety and health professionals.

Chuck will join the LSSTPO full-time in January 2014.

LSST Successfully Completes NSF Final Design Review

December 11, 2013 - The National Science Foundation (NSF) conducted a successful Final Design Review (FDR) of the LSST Project last week with the review panel concluding LSST is ready to start construction in July 2014. The project will receive a written report from the panel by the end of December to which the project will prepare a formal reply. This crucial step moves the project closer to National Science Board (NSB) approval of a construction start. 

In its verbal presentation to project staff at the conclusion of the review, the panel said they were impressed with the team's technical ability, cohesiveness in acting as "one project," and the maturity of the management and technical plan presented. The panel commented specifically on the management team's proficiency with project planning and tracking tools, which enabled quick generation of technical and financial analyses for various scenarios proposed by the panel during the review.  

LSST Director Steve Kahn and LSST Project Manager Victor Krabbendam wish to thank the entire team for the tremendous amount of hard work they invested to ensure a successful FDR.

University of Oxford Joins LSST Corporation

December 5, 2013 – The University of Oxford has joined LSST Corporation as the 40th LSSTC Institutional Member. The Oxford Physics Department led the membership petition, but members of the Engineering Department ant the Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC) are also interested in LSST activities. Groups within Oxford Physics have made significant contributions to many of the world's leading physics facilities through project and science teams, instrument development, construction and commissioning, and science exploitation. Oxford also offers skilled engineering staff and well-equipped mechanical and electronic workshops with state-of-the art fabrication capabilities.

Oxford faculty members are interested in LSST’s capability to elucidate the nature of dark energy. They intend to develop weak lensing analysis, including galaxy shape and photometric redshift estimation; extract dark energy parameters and test modified gravity; and cross-correlate with other probes. They are also interested in the assembly history of galaxies. Lastly, with LSST collaborators internationally, Oxford plans to develop and potentially partly host a Large Scale Survey Astronomy School to train the next generation of PhD students.

Welcome Bo Xin

Bo Xin, formerly of Purdue University has joined LSST as Systems Analysis Scientist. The position supports the Systems Engineering Manager and Systems Scientist with system analyses using the project’s high level modeling tools (ImSim, OpSim, CalSim), as well as various other computational environments (Zemax, Matlab, Python). As part of Project Systems Engineering, Bo will work closely with the simulation teams, subsystem project scientists, and subsystem systems engineers to lead the effort to develop and coordinate key system level architectures, including the conceptual design of select critical components of these architectures.

Previously, Bo has contributed to LSST both as a science collaboration member and as an instrumental part of the team behind the design of LSST’s active optics system, particularly the curvature wavefront sensor. Bo will work from Indiana over the next few months before relocating to Tucson early in 2014.

Northwestern University Joins LSST Corporation

November 8, 2013 - Northwestern University (NU) has joined LSST Corporation, bringing the total number of LSSTC Institutional Members to 39.  NU’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) led the membership petition, which promoted its strong focus on astrophysical research and broad interdisciplinary involvement with a wide community of researchers.  Faculty and postdoctoral fellows at CIERA work on a wide range of LSST-related topics: from stellar binary mergers and LIGO to transient events, AGN surveys and characterization, dense stellar dynamics, galaxy clusters and gravitational lensing, planetary transits, and other solar system transients.  In addition, a number of particle physics faculty members are interested in joining LSST, contributing in the area of statistics and big-data challenges.  LSST Data Management Project Scientist Mario Juric can expect a big audience when he presents Large Synoptic Survey Telescope: Entering the Era of Petascale Optical Astronomy at CIERA on November 12.    

Neighborhood Watch on Cerro Pachón

LSST and the Government of Chile are working together to minimize the impact of construction on Cerro Pachón's thriving ecosystem. From the beginning of LSST’s relationship with Chile, the protection of threatened species – and in particular the relocation and replanting of flora in need of preservation – has been part of the site development plan. Today, within the on-site wild gardens, tens of endangered Sandillón cactus seedlings are thriving after being nurtured from seeds harvested prior to site leveling. The capture and relocation of vulnerable animal species also took place at that time, including this black-green tree iguana (Liolaamus nigrovirdis) shown here being held by a botanical specialist from the University of La Serena.

Welcome Sandra Ortiz

Friday September 13, 2013 - LSST is pleased to announce Sandra Ortiz as the LSST Project Office (LSSTPO) Administrative Assistant. Sandra is responsible for the majority of daily office administration tasks such as coordinating project-wide travel arrangements, managing calendars, and organizing meeting arrangements. She comes to LSST after several years working as the Assistant to the Vice President for the Muscular Dystrophy Association National Headquarters in Tucson. Sandra’s office is room N515 in the LSSTPO wing of Steward Observatory's fifth floor.

Successful Database Architecture Review

August 30, 2013

The sign on Jeff Kantor's door says it all. In preparation for the upcoming October Final Design Review, LSST has had 14 external reviews in the past 12 weeks with another 5 reviews scheduled for the next six weeks. The most recent of these reviews, the LSST Data Management Database Architecture Review, took place August 6-7 at SLAC with a very favorable outcome. This review examined the current LSST database design, including its distributed/parallel architecture, partitioning, indexing, fault tolerance, data distribution, and schema evolution as well as the physical schema. Reviewers concluded the database architecture is technically appropriate for the project's requirements and feasible in the time and budget available.

Joint Technical Meeting Group Photo

Wednesday August 14, 2013 - More than 80 LSST team members attended the Joint Technical Meeting this week at the Omni Tucson National Resort. The August 12-15 workshop brings together the distributed team of managers, scientists, and engineers who contribute to the programmatic, design, and technical work of the LSST Project. In particular, the team is tackling interfaces and other cross-subsystem topics in preparation for the National Science Foundation Final Design Review in October. The agenda also includes external reviews of Image Simulation and the Safety Program later in the week. Here, the team poses for a group photo at the edge of the Omni golf course on Tuesday afternoon. Click the image for a larger view.


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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