lsstpo's blog


LSST received its federal construction start in August of 2014. This website supports the LSST Project Office in its construction of the facility.

Construction Progress

February 17, 2017 - New drone images from the summit of Cerro Pachón show the rapid progress of LSST construction. You can see the circular lower enclosure with the telescope pier inside, the elevator shaft, and the (long rectangular) service building. The third image shows white siding going up on the lower enclosure and progress on the foundation for the Auxiliary Telescope. Inside the facilities building windows are appearing, drywall is going up and cable trays are being installed. The summit team has one month to get ready for the start of Dome installation.

Working the Details in Venice

February 10, 2017 - Members of the Telescope & Site (T&S) group were in Italy this week, reviewing progress with EIE on the Dome. The Dome azimuth rail has already shipped from Italy and is due in Chile February 25th. The azimuth bogies and ring beam will be boxed and shipped to Chile starting in mid-February, arriving in Chile in early April.  T&S Project Manager Bill Gressler sends this report:

Calibrating Progress

February 3, 2017 – Construction is progressing quickly on Cerro Pachón, not only on the main LSST Facility Building but also on the concrete foundation for the Auxiliary Telescope.  This 1.2-meter telescope will measure atmospheric conditions at the site and provide information necessary to calibrate the LSST data throughout the survey.  [Read More …]

A Prize Winning Search for Hidden Figures in STEM

January 20, 2017 - Congratulations to Maria Patterson, a Research Scientist at the University of Washington’s Department of Astronomy working in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) Data Management Science Pipelines group.  Maria is a runner-up in the “Search for Hidden Figures Contest", a contest sponsored by PepsiCo and 21st Century Fox, to find the next generation of women who will lead the way in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.   From a total of 7,000 applicants, two grand prize winners and 10 runners-up were selected.

Fiber-optic installation

January 13, 2017 – During LSST operations, data will flow from the summit of Cerro Pachón, beginning with the data acquisition interface between camera and telescope subsystems, through to the data products accessed by end users.  To facilitate the first step of this journey, installation of the dedicated fiber-optic cable from the summit to base facility is well underway.  The cable goes from Cerro Pachon to the AURA gatehouse on the telescope site, across and down highway 41 to La Serena, then in town to the LSST Base Facility on the AURA Recinto.

LSST at AAS 229

January 5, 2016 – LSST is one of about 75 exhibitors and 2500 attendees at AAS 229 in Grapevine, TX, this week.  At last night’s LSST Town Hall, Beth Willman, Pat Eliason, and Lucianne Walkowicz spoke to the crowd of ~160 about the LSST Project, Corporation, and Science Collaboration activities.  At the LSST booth, we’re promoting LSST’s construction activities and hiring campaign, as well as interacting with the crowd and providing general information about LSST.  You can follow #aas229 on twitter for a real-time window into activities, until the meeting concludes on Saturday.

Happy Holidays

Dear Colleagues, we at LSST wish you a happy, healthy, and peaceful holiday season.  Best wishes for the New Year!  The LSST Project Office will be closed for holidays on December 26 & 27, 2016, and January 2 & 3, 2017.  The Weekly Digest will not be distributed on December 23, 30, or January 6, picking up again Friday, January 13th, 2017, after the AAS Meeting.

LSST Workplace Culture and Inclusion

December 16, 2016AURA’s Workforce and Diversity Committee (WDC) met in Tucson last week, bringing together Human Resources representatives, external experts, and the Diversity Advocates at each of the five AURA center: Gemini, LSST, NOAO, NSO, and STScI.  The committee works on issues related to building and maintaining a “fully diverse workforce where individuals feel genuinely empowered to bring their diverse perspectives into the ongoing creation of ideas and approaches.” 

LSST reported on three goals previously identified as valuable to the LSST Project and benefitting from expertise within the WDC:

First Science Raft Tower Module Completed!

December 9, 2016 - The Science Raft team, located primarily at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), has constructed the very first Science Raft Tower Module populated with a full array of 9 CCDs and 3 Raft Electronics Boards (REBs).  The Raft is an Engineering Test Unit (ETU1), which was assembled for design and construction validation purposes and will be used to support commissioning efforts at Test Stand 8 where a full suite of electro-optical tests will be performed at the Raft level.  The Raft Sensor Assembly (RSA) for this ETU was already leveraged to commission Test Stand 5, where warm and cold RSA metrology is performed at temperatures as low as -100oC.

DM-Commissioning Workshop

December 9, 2016 - As part of preparations for the upcoming Commissioning Plan review next January at SLAC, Systems Scientist Chuck Claver led a productive Data Management (DM)-centered commissioning workshop at the University of Washington this week.  The team worked on defining the observations needed to verify the scientific performance of the DM system and how to manage the transfer from commissioning to operations. Workshop participants included Keith Bechtold, Eric Bellm, Andy Connolly, Robert Gruendl (remotely),  Zeljko Ivezic, Mario Juric, K-T Lim, Robert Lupton, and Kevin Reil. Their main deliverable is a revised and significantly extended Commissioning Plan document and detailed plans for the review presentations.


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).   

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