Rubin Observatory Digest for 5 December 2023
5 December 2023
Project and Science News
The third Rubin science release, “Rubin Observatory Will Unlock Fossil Record of Galaxy Cluster Evolution,” is now available on rubinobservatory.org. Please share this story with your networks to help generate excitement about Rubin science.
A meeting of the AURA Management Council for Rubin Observatory (AMCR) took place in La Serena, Chile, on November 29th - December 1st. In addition to construction progress updates and a discussion about developing First Light celebration plans, the Council enjoyed a tour of the Rubin summit facility. The last time this group toured the site was in September 2019, so there was lots of progress to show. Photos from the summit tour are available in the Gallery.
Rubin Observatory hosted a summit visit from Bernadette M. Meehan, US Ambassador to the Republic of Chile, on December 1. After Ambassador Meehan toured the observatory and spoke with members of the Rubin team, she documented her experience—and her excitement about Rubin—in this social media post. Enthusiastic comments from high-level US government officials like Ambassador Meehan help build awareness and momentum for Rubin Observatory, and we thank the members of our team who made her visit special.
After reinstallation of the Rubin Commissioning Camera on the Telescope Mount Assembly (TMA) early in November, the summit team worked on balancing the telescope and now dynamic testing of the TMA is well underway. A new video of the TMA on the move is available in the Gallery.
The major milestone of rotating the main Rubin observatory dome with its permanent rack-and-pinion gear system was achieved this week. The 56 segments that make up the 30-meter diameter circular rack were secured in place, and the 5 drives with pinion gears were engaged to turn the dome under precise control. Up until now, dome rotation has utilized provisional friction drive wheels, which allowed for rough positioning as needed for construction. The newly installed geared drive system is the permanent means to rotate the ~600-ton dome to precise position and with very low vibration throughout the entirety of Rubin Operations. The efficient demonstration of his new level of dome completion was witnessed by the visiting AMCR panel. See a short video clip here.
Michael Jones McKean, artist-in-residence for Rubin Observatory, recently unveiled a stunning visual story about Cerros Pachón and Tololo, with Rubin as the central focus. The sculptural and poetic expression of the site can be experienced on the Twelve Earths Website. Michael describes Twelve Earths as “a planetary sculpture exploring radical interconnectivity along a 25,000-mile circular path, linking twelve diverse locations around the planet.”
Rubin data management and administrative staff organized an International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) Interoperability Meeting in Tucson on November 10-12, following the ADASS conference in Tucson. The IVOA facilitates international coordination and collaboration towards the vision of astronomical data sets and other resources working as a seamless whole, and two hybrid interoperability meetings are organized each year. A group photo from the meeting is available in the Gallery.
LSST Discovery Alliance News:
LSST Discovery Alliance (formerly known as LSST Corporation) has launched their new website, providing a variety of material relevant to the Rubin LSST science community, including links to the science collaboration websites and information about all of their programs: Catalyst Fellowship, LINCC Frameworks, Data Science Fellowship Program, Summer Student Program, Inclusive Collaboration Initiatives, and Science Catalyst Grants. The website launch party drew 75 participants!
LSST-DA is in partnership with the IAU National Organizing Committee and African Astronomical Society to raise funding for African Astronomers to participate in the 2024 IAU General Assembly meeting in South Africa. You can learn more from this FAQ about the African Astronomer Travel Fund campaign. Please consider making a donation to support this campaign through this online portal.
Personnel Announcements & Opportunities
Fabián Araneda-Baltierra joined the Data Management team on October 26th as Research Scientist. Based at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), Fabián will be supporting Rubin’s Commissioning effort.
Jacqueline Seron (Observing Specialist - Senior Stage) and Paulina Venegas (Observing Specialist - Mid-career) joined the Rubin observing team in Chile on December 1st. Jacqueline and Paulina will be providing nighttime commissioning and operations support for the 8.4-meter Simonyi Survey Telescope and the 1.2-meter Rubin Auxiliary telescope.
A new position is available: SLAC Senior Scientist, Rubin Observatory US Data Facility Lead. The deadline to apply is December 15th. Details and information on other open positions can be found on the Rubin hiring page.
Info for Project Members
If you’d like to schedule a one-on-one meeting with Victor or Zeljko, please fill out this form to indicate your preferred date and time.
There is also an anonymous “suggestion box” for anyone to offer feedback at this link.
Rubin Observatory swag items, including t-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, and more, are available for purchase in our not-for-profitonline store.
Upcoming Meetings with Rubin Observatory Involvement
(those with an asterisk* are supported by LSST Discovery Alliance)
Unveiling the Dynamic Universe: Cosmic Streams in the Era of Rubin, Puerto Varas, Chile
American Astronomical Society (AAS243) meeting, New Orleans, LA
Rubin Town Hall at AAS
January 17 & 19
“What was that? Planning ESO follow-up for transients, variables, and solar system objects in the era of LSST,” ESO Garching, Germany
January 30-February 4
NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group (SBAG) Meeting #30, Tucson, AZ
NSF Research Infrastructure Workshop, Tucson, AZ
KAVLI-IAU (IAUS 387) Symposium, “(Toward) Discovery of Life Beyond Earth and its Impact,” Durham, UK
Rubin Joint Operations Review, Tucson, AZ
SPIE Astronomical Telescopes & Instrumentation Meeting, Yokohama, Japan