Connections across the Atlantic

September 30, 2016 - Several members of the Telescope & Site and Systems Engineering groups were in Madrid, Spain this week for the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA) Test Verification Review.  This review of the verification plans for the TMA include a project milestone:  the first “official” integration of a vendor subsystem with the LSST visit-simulator controls software, the software that instructs the telescope to move to a new location on the sky.  This image is a screen shot documenting a standard visit sequence of moving the dome, adjusting the hexapod / actuator assembly, fixing on the guide star and then completing the exposure sequence.  The Operations Simulator, OpSim, wa

TED Radio Hour

September 16, 2016 - LSST Simulation Scientist Andy Connolly is one of four speakers featured on the TED Radio Hour broadcast September 9, 2016.  The topic is the Big Data Revolution, and speakers explore how Big Data will reshape our world from different perspectives.  Andy draws from his March 2014 TED Talk (with more than 1.2 million views) and talks with NPR host Guy Raz about recent LSST developments and “What Data Will be Discovered by the World’s Most Powerful Telescope”.   

Precision Machining of the M1M3 Cell Begins

September 9, 2016 – Now that the M1M3 mirror cell has been welded and stress relieved, the initial machining of the M1M3 cell weldment has begun at CAID Industries in Tucson.  This short video shows the machining of the +4000 interface holes and precision interfaces between the cell and the glass mirror and the cell and the coating chamber.  The flange ring getting machined in the video is the circular “ridge” shown in the first image.  

New OpSim Reference Run

August 26, 2016 - There are several sets of simulated surveys produced using the Operations Simulator (OpSim) which are available to the LSST Project and to the scientific community.  A new OpSim Reference Simulated Survey, minion_1016, has been approved and placed under change control.  This Reference Run replaces opsim3.61 and is an updated demonstration of the primary capabilities of the OpSim v3.3.5 codebase.  A Reference Simulated Survey (or Reference Run) is a technical designation and is a demonstration of the primary capabilities of the OpSim v3.3.5 codebase.

LSST: Dark Matter & Dark Energy

August 12, 2016 – Cosmologist Risa Wechsler explains how LSST will contribute to our understanding of dark matter and dark energy in this three-minute video and twitter conversation presented as part of the #AskSymmetry video series.

Interactive 3D Model of the LSST Construction Site

LSST Construction by jsebag on Sketchfab

July 29, 2016 - This model is our first attempt at using the measurements taken on site in February 2016 with a DJI phantom 3 pro drone to create a 3D map of the LSST summit construction on Cerro Pachón (Chile). This is a first step towards capturing the progress of the construction in 3D.  The drone is programmed to fly prescribed circuits around the summit to cover the site at different angles. The time required to complete a circuit is variable between 15 and 30min depending on the area to cover and the battery lifetime. 

Testing the LSST Lifting Platform @Pflow

July 21, 2016 - PFlow Industries performed a successful setup and test on July 18th of their platform lift, which will be installed in the summit facility to transport the LSST mirrors and camera. The lift platform is pictured with the test load of approximately 140,000 lbs of concrete blocks. As witnessed by Bill Gressler, Jeff Barr, Freddy Muñoz and the PFlow engineering team, the lift functioned smoothly and flawlessly under load and was also tested for safety interlocks and response to fault conditions. The entire lift assembly will now be disassembled, painted, and packed for shipment to the construction site - anticipated to arrive in October and begin its installation in November.


July 5, 2016 - LSST was well represented at the 2016 SPIE meeting on Astronomical Telescopes & Instrumentation in Edinburgh, Scotland last week with more than 40 LSST-related oral and poster presentations as well as an LSST booth in the exhibition hall.  LSST presentations will be made available through; press coverage about LSST from the meeting included this article in, based on Steve Kahn’s invited talk.  Victor Krabbendam, Frossie Economou, and Bill Gressler also gave invited talks in their respective areas of expertise. 

M1M3 Cell Stress Relieving

June 23, 2016 - The M1M3 cell was stress relieved inside the heavy fab building at CAID Industries in Tucson, AZ on 6/8/2016.  Stress relieving relaxes residual stresses built up in the steel caused by welding and working it to provide a stable structure to prevent warpage over time.  The Stress relieving process lasted about 24 hours and consumed 1200 gallons of propane with temperatures reaching up to 1050 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Successful Dome Review

June 16, 2016 - Several members of the Telescope & Site team traveled to Mestre, Italy the week of June 6th to conduct a Final Design Review (FDR) of the LSST dome with vendor EIE Group.  LSST acknowledged the high quality of work done by the EIE team and appreciated the good working relationship that has been established.  Nine items were identified that require immediate formal action and closure in writing prior to receiving approval to move into construction.  All of these “Tier 1” items are quite doable and pose no significant issue moving forward.  Overall the quality and quantity of work completed to date was deemed adequate for FDR, and the review a success!


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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