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July 2013  •  Volume 6 Number 2

From the Director’s Desk

Steve Kahn, LSST Director

I take great pleasure in welcoming you to this issue of LSST E-News, the first since I became LSST Director on July 1, 2013. Communication is a high priority of the LSST Project Office, both internally with our distributed staff, and externally to the many individuals interested in the project. LSST is in great shape; being named in the President’s proposed budget to Congress is certainly evidence of that. Sidney Wolff has done an outstanding job of navigating many hurdles and bringing the project to this excellent position. I’m looking forward to working with a great team of talented individuals as we prepare for the NSF Final Design Review in October and the anticipated construction start that follows.

Steve Kahn
LSST Project Director

Computing the Cosmos: Hands-on with Google Compute Engine

Simon Krughoff, astronomer at the University of Washington presents at Google I/O

The LSST software stack had a leading role at this year’s Google I/O, an annual conference for developers featuring the latest tools and techniques from Google’s product teams and partners. Simon Krughoff, astronomer at the University of Washington and member of the LSST Data Management and Image Simulation teams, co-presented a session with Google’s Jonathan Simon on using the LSST software stack to search for previously unseen objects in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Read more...

Data Management Exceeds with Award

XSEDE: Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment

LSST Data Management was awarded a computing resource allocation of 678,000 Service Units (SUs) from theLSST Data Management was awarded a computing resource allocation from the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) in June 2013.  This award of 530,000 service units and 148 terabytes of storage is a renewal of previous awards that LSST has been granted by XSEDE.  Read more...

Creating Community the Drupal Way

DrupalCon Portland, May 20-24, 2013

LSST web developers attended DrupalCon 2013 in Portland, Oregon

The LSST web team made its annual trip to DrupalCon in May to network with other Drupal users and to keep abreast of technical developments in the content management system used by LSST and nearly one million people in more than 200 countries. The conference theme of "Building Bridges, Building Community" emerged in several ways over the three-day conference. In addition to the usual developer sessions, the Portland, Oregon conference encouraged informal interactions and embraced Drupal users’ social conscience. Before the meeting officially began, the Drupal community held a happy hour fundraiser to help renowned developer Aaron Winborn pay bills associated with his fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). And on Tuesday, a team of volunteer Drupal developers gathered to build a website used by FEMA to help the victims of the Oklahoma tornado. Read more...

Steve Ritz – Managing Myriad Subtle Characteristics

Camera Project Scientist Steve Ritz

New Camera Project Scientist Steve Ritz jumped at the opportunity to join LSST, seeing the excellent team, the breakthrough capabilities of the observatory, and the challenge of understanding myriad subtle performance characteristics that will enable “game-changing” science. Read more...

LSST Meet Yourself

LSST Project Office staff interview each other at LSST Meet Yourself, June 12, 2013.

The 25 or so members of the Tucson-based LSST team gathered in June for some lunch, some information exchange, and a chance to know each other a bit better. As the newest AURA Center, the LSST Project Office (LSSTPO) has an opportunity to start off right with everything, including our institutional culture and workforce climate. To that end, the LSSTPO participated for the first time in an AURA-wide climate survey, whose purpose was to identify any areas of concern, understand and improve the quality of the workplace, and evaluate the state of readiness at LSSTPO in supporting AURA's diversity initiatives in the astronomical community. Results of the survey were shared at the LSST Meet Yourself gathering. Read more...

LSST Represents AAS in May 2013 CNSF Exhibit

The LSST exhibit is ready to go and Director Steve Kahn ready to meet the crowds at the 19th annual Coalition for National Science Funding exhibit in Washington, DC, May 7, 2013.

LSST exhibited at the 19th Annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) reception in the Rayburn House Office Building on May 7, 2013. The American Astronomical Society is a member of CNSF and sponsored LSST to participate in this year’s event with the theme: Investments in STEM Research and Education: Fueling American Innovation.

LSST team members Steve Kahn, Victor Krabbendam, and Suzanne Jacoby, along with Susan Hutchison from the Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, engaged in numerous conversations with congressional representatives and staffers, policy makers, and representatives of national agencies during the two-hour, well attended event. Conversations of note included those with Dr. Cora Marrett (NSF Acting Director), Dr. Fleming Crim (NSF/MPS), Representative Bill Foster (IL-11) and Representative Jerry McNerney (CA-09) who has since made a one-minute speech on the House floor and entered LSST officially into the Congressional record. Read more...

Inaugural Meeting of LSST@Illinois

LSST Institutional Members from Illinois met at Argonne National Laboratory on May 30 for the inaugural meeting of LSST@Illinois. Organized by Salman Habib, the meeting was attended by about 40 individuals from Adler Planetarium, Argonne, Fermilab, University of Illinois/NCSA and Northwestern University. Many in the group “bonded” previously at a Washington, DC LSST Board Meeting and decided to continue their discussion of current projects, what each institution would individually like to get out of LSST, and how they can work together to help LSST@Illinois as well as the LSST project. The agenda included short overviews from each institution in the morning session, and ‘breakout’ discussions in the afternoon on a number of subtopics. The final session elicited various ideas on collaborative activities and associated action items. Salman soon will provide a URL to share LSST@Illinois activities and perhaps inspire other similar collaborations.

Chuck Claver Receives AURA Technology / Innovation Award

LSST Systems Scientist Chuck Claver

AURA announced LSST Systems Scientist Chuck Claver as one of the 2013 recipients of its Technology/Innovation Award (see He is being recognized for his outstanding contribution to LSST as Project Systems Engineer over the previous five years. He has successfully led LSST systems engineering through major NSF reviews, including the Preliminary Design Review and the Joint Interface and Management Review, both of which were prerequisites for NSB approval of advancing the project to the final design phase. The LSST systems engineering effort was cited as a key project success by the committee that conducted the Preliminary Design Review. Read more...


LSST is a public-private partnership. Funding for design and development activity comes from the National Science Foundation, private donations, grants to universities, and in-kind support at Department of Energy laboratories and other LSSTC Institutional Members:

Adler Planetarium; Argonne National Laboratory; Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL); California Institute of Technology; Carnegie Mellon University; Chile; Cornell University; Drexel University; Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; George Mason University; Google, Inc.; Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Institut de Physique Nucleaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3); Johns Hopkins University; Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) – Stanford University; Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Inc.; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL); Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL); National Optical Astronomy Observatory; National Radio Astronomy Observatory; Princeton University; Purdue University; Research Corporation for Science Advancement; Rutgers University; SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; Space Telescope Science Institute; Texas A & M University; The Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; The Pennsylvania State University; The University of Arizona; University of California at Davis; University of California at Irvine; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Michigan; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; University of Washington; Vanderbilt and Fisk Universities

LSST E-News Team:

  • Suzanne Jacoby (Editor-in-Chief)
  • Robert McKercher (Staff Writer)
  • Mark Newhouse (Design & Production: Web)
  • Emily Acosta (Design & Production: PDF/Print)
  • Sidney Wolff (Editorial Consultant)
  • Additional contributors as noted

LSST E-News is a free email publication of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Project. It is for informational purposes only, and the information is subject to change without notice.

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