lsstpo's blog

LSST Mirror Nears Completion

September 26, 2014 - The LSST monolithic M1M3 mirror blank approaches completion at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The combined primary (M1) and tertiary (M3) surfaces are seen on the left in this image from July 2014 with the red polishing compound highlighting the active polishing zone of M3. In anticipation of completion, the vacuum lifting fixture (right, September 2014) is being assembled to supply suction to lift the mirror off the polishing cell and lower it into the mirror transport box once the polishing is complete. The fixture will then be disassembled and stored locally until it's time to reinstall the M1M3 for final optical testing in the telescope cell prior to shipment to Chile.

Andy Connolly's TED Talk

In March of 2014, UW astronomer and LSST Simulations Lead Andy Connolly was a featured speaker at the Vancouver, Canada, TED Symposium.  He describes LSST when talking about "What's the Next Window into our Universe?".  This talk is now featured online:  "Big Data is everywhere — even the skies. In an informative talk, astronomer Andrew Connolly shows how large amounts of data are being collected about our universe, recording it in its ever-changing moods. Just how do scientists capture so many images at scale? It starts with a giant telescope …"

Welcome New Employees: Frossie Economou & Gary Muller!

September 12, 2014 - The LSST Hiring Campaign continues to attract Top Talent to the project team. Frossie Economou joined LSST on August 4. 2014, as Technical Manager for Data Management (DM) and Education & Public Outreach (EPO). She splits her time between building a team to support the development and science quality activities of the far-flung DM group and planning for the software development effort of the EPO team. Frossie is very excited by the technical ambition of the LSST project, the open-source software development culture, and the extraordinary opportunities presented by the data, both for academic research and public engagement.

Cerro Pachón Flyover

September 5, 2014 - The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is under construction on Cerro Pachón, an 8,800-foot (2,682-meter) mountain peak in north-central Chilé (30°14′40.7″S 70°44′57.9″W). This video shows how the site looked in March of 2012, as David Walker, a computer programmer in the NOAO-S CISS group and pilot, took a tour in a Cessna 172.  Approaching from the north, David first shows us the SOAR and Gemini-South telescopes, before passing the LSST site, both the "calibration hill" and primary platform.   Initial site preparations took place in March of 2011. The telescope sites are inland and approximately 100 km by road from the support town of La Serena, location of the LSST Base Facility.

LSST 2014 Workshop & Project Status

August 28, 2014 - The LSST 2014 Project and Community Workshop took place in Phoenix, AZ, August 11 - 15, bringing over 250 participants to the Valley of the Sun for a week of extensive and productive interaction.  120 of those participants also attended a concurrent workshop on the LSST Observing Cadence co-hosted by NOAO and LSST with its own week-long series of discussions on how to optimize the cadence to maximize both static and transient/variable science results.   Plenary and Breakout presentations are linked to the workshop website: from the

TMA Contract Officially Signed

August 13, 2014 - The LSST Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA) contract has been signed by AURA and vendor GHESA Ingeniería y Tecnología, S.A (in consortium with ASTURFEITO, S.A.). The official signing took place in Spain between AURA President William Smith (right) and GHESA Union Temporal de Empresas Manager Luis Garcia Marchena (left) and witnessed by Spanish notary Jose Maria Garcia Pedraza. 

LSST Receives Construction Authorization

August 4, 2014 - The long awaited news has arrived - LSST has received its federal construction start as described in these press releases from AURA and the NSF.  On Friday afternoon, August 1, the NSF authorized the LSST project for construction with $27.5M in FY14 and a budget plan that stays within a $473M overall budget cap.  The effort to make LSST a reality that began in the mid-1990s will be realized in the start of science operations in 2022.   LSST has broken through the technology, science, and political challenges and is on its way to revolutionizing both our cosmic knowledge and the open and collaborative methods of acquiring that knowledge.  With thanks to the hard work by so many who contributed to this milestone and every confidence in the project team to complete the construction task, we are excited to begin this next phase for LSST.

LSST Project Hires Chilean Admin Assistant

The LSST Project Office is pleased to welcome Administrative Assistant Carol Chirino to the LSST team. Carol will support daily operation of the LSST office in Chile, including providing support for local and visiting staff. She will coordinate LSST administration in Chile with the LSST Project Office in Tucson. Most recently a bi-lingual administrative specialist for Gemini South Operations Support, Carol has 12 years experience in demanding office environments. Before Gemini, she worked as an administrative assistant for the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmondton, Alberta, Canada.

Carol's first day with the LSSTPO is August 1, 2014. Her contact information can be found in the LSST Contacts Database, which is accessible from the project office website's home page.

LSST Hiring Campaign Hits the Road

June 18,  2014 - LSST's hiring campaign will be the focus of the Project's booth on the exhibit floor of the SPIE  Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation meeting in Montreal, Quebec, Canada June 25-26. Stop by, or encourage others who might be interested, to discover the exciting career opportunities available with the Project now and in near future.

LSST Project Hires Telescope Site Manager

June 17, 2014 - The LSST Project welcomes Eduardo Serrano as the Site Manager for the Telescope and Site team in Chile. Eduardo joins the LSST team in La Serena, most recently working at the SOAR telescope as site manager since 1998. He will work closely with Jeff Barr, the Project Architect, to support the upcoming summit facility construction activities and operate as the overall onsite safety manager to ensure compliance to LSST safety policies. Eduardo has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of La Serena and previously worked at CTIO in support of telescope engineering activities.


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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