LSST Project News


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

Testing in Tucson

July 13, 2017 - Critical work has been underway in the lab at LSST’s Project Office in Tucson, AZ: testing of the static supports for LSST’s Primary/Tertiary Mirror (M1M3). When the 8.4-meter mirror is not under active support by the pneumatic actuators, it will rest on an array of wire rope isolators (also referred to as static supports). 355 of these supports will be installed on the mirror cell deck plate. The supports are designed to safely support the mirror under gravity and seismic loading while limiting the motion of the mirror to safe levels.

LSST Asteroid Day Live Videos Now Available

July 7, 2017 - Programming provided by LSST for Asteroid Day Live, a 24-hour broadcast about space and asteroids that aired on June 30, is now available on the LSST YouTube channel. You can also find the LSST videos, along with all the other Asteroid Day Live programming, on the Asteroid Day Live website. Read more about LSST’s participation in Asteroid Day 2017 in this blog post from last week. 



LSST Celebrates Asteroid Day 2017

June 28, 2017- Again this year, LSST will participate in Asteroid Day, a UN-sanctioned global day to raise awareness about asteroids and in particular how we protect Earth from potential asteroid impacts. Asteroid Day 2017 takes place June 30th and is sponsored by the B612 Foundation, an American-based non-profit organization created to protect the Earth from dangerous asteroids through early detection.

Lights, Camera, Interview

June 20, 2017 - Sandrine Thomas, Project Scientist for LSST’s Telescope and Site Subsystem, took some time out from her busy work schedule last week to sit down with Alison Rose of Inigo Films for an extended on-camera interview. Interviews were also conducted with LSST Director Steve Kahn, LSST Deputy Director Beth Willman, and LSST Project Manager Victor Krabbendam.

Each of the four interviewees gave his or her own perspective on the rewards and challenges involved in leading a diverse, distributed team tasked with building a revolutionary telescope. The interviews were conducted as informal conversations, allowing for in-depth explorations of interesting topics.

On Track

June 2, 2017 - Members of LSST’s Primary/Tertiary Mirror (M1M3) integration team recently completed training on the Leica Absolute Laser Tracker AT-930, a sophisticated tool for collecting precise measurements in three dimensions. The laser tracker will be used for a multitude of tasks associated with M1M3 integration, including accurate positioning of static supports and wedges for hardpoints.

Azimuth Advancements

May 26, 2017 - Work on the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA) by subcontractor Asturfeito in Spain is progressing rapidly. An auxiliary second level platform has been installed, providing access to the azimuth floor. In addition, azimuth radial bearings have been placed and vertical seismic stops have been trial fitted. Currently, the plan is to float the azimuth structure on the hydrostatic bearings in July, which will be the first time the base of the TMA supports the full structural load.

Snow Days on Cerro Pachón

May 19, 2017 – As summer starts to heat up here in the north, a major winter storm swept through Cerro Pachón in the southern hemisphere this past week, dropping nearly 16 inches (40 cm) of snow on the summit. Site Manager Eduardo Serrano was able to access the summit after the storm to provide photos of the snow blanketing the construction site. The snow was preceded by significant rain which washed out sections of the road, causing problems for trucks and staff-transporting buses. The same front also brought heavy rain to La Serena, dropping 8 inches (20 cm) of rain in just a couple of days, which is the area's usual annual rainfall. 

LSST: Constructing a New Era in Astronomy

May 2, 2017 - Fly over the summit of Cerro Pachón in Chile with us and see how quickly LSST is becoming a reality! This video documents the progress of construction so far, dramatically capturing the scale and complexity of the ongoing project.

A multimedia team was contracted to document the project via drone film footage, time-lapse sequences, panorama images, and full dome clips. This LSST blog post describes the details of the film crew's March 2017 visit to the construction site.

Music licensed from Extreme Music

Training for Tomorrow

April 28, 2017 - The third session of the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program (DSFP), hosted jointly by NOAO and the University of Arizona, took place this week in Tucson. The Data Science Fellowship Program is a two-year training program supported primarily by the LSST Corporationthrough its Enabling Science Initiative, with additional contributions from Northwestern University. The program is designed to teach astronomy students essential skills that will prepare them to work with big data from LSST.

Supporting Progress – updated 4/27/17

April 27, 2017 - Further progress has been made on the Spanish pier. Both azimuth supports are now in place on the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA), and the main connecting I-beam known as the "keel" has been attached between them. The orange banks of capacitors were pre-installed on the keel beam prior to its attachment. 


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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