Rubin Observatory’s mission is to build a well-understood system that will produce an unprecedented astronomical data set for studies of the deep and dynamic universe, make the data widely accessible to a diverse community of scientists, and engage the public to explore the Universe with us.
The goal of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory project is to conduct the 10-year Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). LSST will deliver a 500 petabyte set of images and data products that will address some of the most pressing questions about the structure and evolution of the universe and the objects in it. The Rubin Observatory LSST is designed to address four science areas:
• Probing dark energy and dark matter.
• Taking an inventory of the solar system.
• Exploring the transient optical sky.
• Mapping the Milky Way.
The scientific questions that Rubin Observatory will address are profound, and yet the concept behind the design of Rubin Observatory is remarkably simple: conduct a deep survey over an enormous area of sky; do it with a frequency that enables images of every part of the visible sky to be obtained every few nights; and continue in this mode for ten years to achieve astronomical catalogs thousands of times larger than have ever previously been compiled.
The construction phase of the project will deliver the facilities needed to conduct the survey: a large-aperture, wide-field, optical imaging telescope; a gigapixel camera; and a data management system.
The 8.4-meter Simonyi Survey Telescope uses a special three-mirror design, which creates an exceptionally wide field of view, and has the ability to survey the entire sky in only three nights. The Rubin Observatory Summit Facility is located on the Cerro Pachón ridge in north-central Chile. The observatory site is inland and approximately 60 m (100 km) by road from the support town of La Serena, where the Rubin Observatory Base Facility is located.
The Rubin Observatory LSST Camera must produce data of extremely high quality with minimal downtime and maintenance. In order to take advantage of high-quality images produced over such a wide field, the camera contains over three billion pixels of solid state detectors.
Software is one of the most challenging aspects of Rubin Observatory, as more than 20 terabytes of data must be processed and stored each night.
Everyone can share in the excitement and discoveries of Rubin Observatory with planned activities for education and public outreach.