Asteroids, Inc.

September 25, 2015 - At the invitation of John Grunsfeld, the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, Steve, Kahn, Zeljko Ivezic, and Mario Juric (shown L-R in the accompanying image) made a visit to NASA Headquarters in Washington to discuss LSST’s capabilities for near earth object (NEO) detection and orbit characterization. Matt Mountain and Heidi Hammel from AURA were also in attendance. Mario showed that while there remain some uncertainties regarding “false positives” that may arise in our image differencing algorithms, existing experience with DECam makes it very likely that LSST will detect ~ 70% of NEOs down to 140 m in size, and with some optimization of our cadence strategy, can increase the fraction to 85% or higher.

Chile on our Mind

September 18th is Chilean Independence Day as on this day in 1810 Chile broke from Spanish rule. The LSST Project Office took the opportunity to join with our Chilean co-workers and celebrated with empanadas, cake, and a lesson in Chilean slang. Thanks to Telescope & Site Optics Engineer Constanza Araujo for initiating the idea and all who helped organize the fun, team-building event. We’ll all be looking for chances to show off our new language skills! The Independence celebration added a positive note to a difficult week for our Chilean colleagues in the aftermath of a strong earthquake centered 150km from La Serena.

Data Management Team Growth Continues

The LSST Data Management team continued to grow during the first year of the construction project. In recent months, four team members joined the Tucson-based Science Quality and Reliability Engineering (SQuaRE) group and three others came on board at DM partner institutions SLAC, Princeton University, and University of Washington. Contact information for all seven new team members can be found in the LSST Contacts Database. Read more after the jump.

LSST Construction – Above Ground on Pachón!

August 28, 2015 - As the Chilean winter snow melts, the LSST facility on Cerro Pachón begins to emerge above the ground level - rebar posts extend from the concrete footings of the support columns of the observatory building. The summit construction is progressing to be ready for the initial integration with the dome in January 2017 and be fully completed by January 2018. The facility will provide 3,000 square meters of maintenance and support space in a footprint that extends from 17 meters below the summit platform to 38 meters above the summit to the top of the dome.

LSST Camera Passes DOE Critical Decision (CD)-3 Review

The LSST achieved a significant milestone August 4-6, 2015, with the Camera passing a critical independent review that evaluated the project's readiness for seeking approval of Critical Decision (CD)-3, Approve Start of Construction. The review committee found the LSST Camera to meet all requirements and recommended immediate CD-3 approval. Specifically the committee found the project team to be "expert and very capable. The team is well managed and can effectively deliver on the construction phase tasks, manage the procurements, interfaces, and risks.

New LSST Web Presence Launched

After many months of effort, new LSST web pages went live on July 28 at This new web presence offers a more modern look that is consistent across the many audiences served by the site, including the Public and Scientists, Project Team, and LSST Corporation. The site architecture allows for easier updates with the responsibility for keeping content current distributed across a group of subject-specific content editors. Using a responsive Drupal theme, the website is designed to scale with different screen sizes on multiple platforms and browsers. Currently, mobile devices account for about 15% of visits; however, we expect that number to continue to grow.

BlueJeans Offers an App

Blue Jeans offers an app for both iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices. The app includes the ability to view and share HD content.  Calls are delivered with SIP SRTP encryption.  Please connect to a wi-fi network for best quality.  When using the Blue Jeans app, you can join with video to get the full experience or use the app in audio-only mode, to save battery-life.

LSST2015 Registration Closes Today, July 24

LSST 2015 takes places in Bremerton, WA the week of August 17, only a few weeks away. Registration closes July 24, and the agenda will be finalized by July 31. In addition to the technical meetings and the Observing Strategy Workshop, an extensive program of public evening events has been arranged by Bob Abel of Olympic College. See you in Bremerton for a productive - and memorable - gathering of all things LSST! Image credit Jeff Ptaszynski, Olympic College.

Zeljko Ivezic Presents LSST Asteroid Detection Capabilities at Asteroid Day

LSST Project Scientist Zeljko Ivezic presented a talk describing LSST’s asteroid detection capabilities during Asteroid Day June 30, 2015 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The day-long event, held annually on the anniversary of the 1908 Siberian Tunguska event, focused solely on the science and study of asteroids – how we can detect them, and how we can protect our planet from their impacts.

Iain Goodenow Promoted to Lead Systems Administrator

The LSST Project Office is pleased to announce the promotion of Iain Goodenow to Lead Systems Administrator. Iain has worked with LSST for 10 years and has served the Project with expertise and adeptness during that time. This past year has been one of extraordinary growth for the LSST Project. Through it all, Iain has continued to provide calm and professional service to an ever expanding LSST network that reaches beyond its Tucson headquarters to our LSST offices in Chile and our colleagues at NCSA, UW, SLAC, IPAC, UC Davis, Princeton, and other remote locations. His continued forward thinking has allowed LSST to keep up with daily demands on its systems with improved efficiencies.


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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