TMA Achieves Substantial Completion

The structure that will support the telescope’s optical system is handed over to the Rubin team

April 14, 2023 - Rubin Observatory celebrated a major construction milestone at the end of March, when the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA), the structure that will soon support the observatory’s optical system, was declared substantially complete. That designation means that testing has proven that the TMA is functioning well enough for UTE, the Spain-based consortium contracted by Rubin to build and assemble the TMA on the summit, to hand it over to the Rubin team for integration of other components.

Cart & Rails Testing on the Summit

In this video you can see the summit team pushing a large metal cart on rails. The cart is used for installing and removing a heavy structure on the telescope mount: a 52,600-kilogram (~58-ton) “surrogate mass.” The surrogate mass is standing in for the primary mirror and its steel supporting structure (called the “cell”), providing the balance necessary for moving the telescope mount during tests. The real primary mirror and its cell will be installed later this year, using a different custom-built cart. 

Rubin Shines at AAS 241

Photo of the Rubin booth at AAS featuring the star sticker on the ground.

LSST@Europe4 Wraps up in Rome

LSST@Europe4 conference attendees enjoy a guided tour of the Farnesina Villa in Rome, Italy. Image: B. Blum.

November 16, 2022 - A productive and collaborative meeting, "LSST@Europe4 - Shaping the European Contribution to LSST," took place October 24-28 in Rome, Italy, with a high level or participation from members of the Rubin Operations and Construction teams. The meeting focused on the last phases of Rubin Construction, the transition to Operations, and on the participation of international communities in commissioning, early science, and the LSST Science Collaborations. Rubin staff members gave presentations on Construction project status, integration and commissioning, operations, In-Kind program status, and early science.

Smile for the Camera

Jacqueline Ramseyer Orrell/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

October 12, 2022 - Rubin Observatory’s LSST Camera is having a moment, and it’s one that’s getting lots of media attention. Although the camera isn’t fully complete yet, all of its mechanical components are now together for the first time—in one photogenic structure. The team at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory facilitated media visits to the clean room while the camera is positioned so that visitors can see its impressive focal plane (which contains 189 CCDs) through the camera’s three lenses. In total, the SLAC team hosted 21 visitors from 14 outlets in September, representing a range of media interests—local, national, science, print, radio, video and TV. 

Rubin Commissioning Camera Installed on the Telescope Mount

August 30, 2022 - The Rubin Observatory Commissioning Camera (ComCam) was successfully installed on the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA) on the summit of Cerro Pachón on August 24, 2022. This is the first of many optical components to be integrated with the telescope structure, and an important step towards getting real astronomical data flowing from the observatory. 

Rubin Represents at AAS 240

June 28, 2022 - The American Astronomical Society (AAS) offered its first hybrid conference (in-person and virtual attendance both supported) in over two years on June 8-13, in Pasadena, California, and Rubin Observatory was there! AAS 240 was one of the biggest summer meetings AAS has ever hosted, its 2022 winter meeting was scheduled to take place in Salt Lake City in January, but it was canceled at the last minute because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

LSST Camera Progress - Together at Last

May 13, 2022 - On April 8th, the LSST Camera team at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory successfully attached the Cryostat to the Camera Body in the IR2 clean room, bringing the camera’s three primary structures—the Cryostat, the Utility Trunk, and the Camera Body—together for the first time. The Cryostat contains the camera’s 201 sensors (each one 16 megapixels), and the 28" entrance lens (L3), with the ancillary electronics and vacuum systems installed on the outside. The Camera Body will ultimately provide support for the camera shutter, filter exchange system, and the two primary lenses (L1 and L2). 

Mirror Wash Tests

April 27, 2022 - Washing and drying an 8.4-meter mirror is no simple task, but with specialized equipment and procedures that are now being developed, the team on the summit will be able to keep both of Rubin Observatory’s mirrors clean and optimally reflective throughout the ten-year Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). This video shows the washing station in action with the mirror surrogate, as the team works on defining the washing and drying parameters that will be used to clean the real Primary/Tertiary Mirror (M1M3) in the future. 

A New Look for the Dome

April 12, 2022 - The Rubin Observatory dome has a new look, after the team from EIE and the Chilean contractor SyR applied natural mill-finished aluminum sheeting to the dome’s exterior over the last several months. No longer white, the dome’s snazzy reflective surface appears silver, or sometimes blue as it reflects the sky.


Financial support for Rubin Observatory comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Support Agreement No. 1202910, 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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