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August 2014  •  Volume 7 Number 3

From the Director, Steven Kahn

The long awaited news has arrived – LSST has received its federal construction start! On Friday afternoon, August 1, the NSF authorized the LSST project for construction with $27.5M in FY14 and a budget plan that stays within a $473M overall budget cap. AURA received NSF support to manage construction of LSST; the NSF press release describes LSST construction as “taking astronomy to the next level”. This marks the official federal start of the LSST project. Read more...

LSST’s Calypso telescope moved from Kitt Peak to Tucson

Calypso leaving Kitt Peak. Image credit: LSST / Gary Poczulp

Early in the morning on May 28th, 2014, LSST’s 1.2-meter Calypso telescope took the first step of a long voyage from Kitt Peak National Observatory to Chile’s Cerro Pachón mountain, where it will accompany LSST as an essential calibration instrument. Through the efforts of a skilled team and thorough preparation, the move was successful, and by late-afternoon on the same day, Calypso had been delivered to the NOAO loading bay in Tucson. Read more…

John Andrew - Drawing a Straight Line from Concept to Hardware

LSST Design Engineer John Andrew. Image Credit: LSST / Emily Acosta

LSST Design Engineer John Andrew always enjoyed taking things apart, seeing how they worked and putting them back together again – an interest put to good use during his recent project coordinating the disassembly and relocation of the Calypso telescope from Kitt Peak to NOAO in Tucson. Although arguably also applicable to his childhood aspiration of becoming a doctor, it is a predilection probably more suitable for engineering. Medicine’s loss is LSST’s gain. Read more…


Eduardo Serrano

Eduardo Serrano, Site Manager for the Telescope and Site team in Chile

The LSST Project welcomes Eduardo Serrano as the Site Manager for the Telescope and Site team in Chile. Eduardo joins the LSST team in La Serena, most recently working at the SOAR telescope as site manager since 1998. He will work closely with Jeff Barr, the Project Architect, to support the upcoming summit facility construction activities and operate as the overall onsite safety manager to ensure compliance to LSST safety policies. Eduardo has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of La Serena and previously worked at CTIO in support of telescope engineering activities.

Carol Chirino

Carol Chirino, Administrative Assistant in Chile

The LSST Project Office is pleased to welcome Administrative Assistant Carol Chirino to the LSST team. Carol will support daily operation of the LSST office in Chile, including providing support for local and visiting staff. She will coordinate LSST administration in Chile with the LSST Project Office in Tucson. Most recently a bi-lingual administrative specialist for Gemini South Operations Support, Carol has 12 years experience in demanding office environments. Before Gemini, she worked as an administrative assistant for the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmondton, Alberta, Canada.

Mario Juric

Mario Juric, Data Management Project Scientist

Mario Juric, LSST’s Data Management Project Scientist, has accepted a new position at University of Washington, where he joins the Astronomy Department and the eScience Institute as a faculty member. Beginning in September, Mario will relocate to Seattle, while continuing his duties for LSST remotely and through monthly trips to Tucson. Despite spending less time in the LSST Project Office, Mario’s new post is mutually beneficial, offering fresh challenges in data science, as well as opportunities to connect with cutting-edge research and researchers, overall contributing positively to LSST. Congratulations, Mario!

Hiring Campaign

LSST is taking the show on the road with an energetic new hiring campaign aimed at attracting a diverse and talented team to lead the project into its official construction phase. Equipped with a newly-designed website and a proactive recruitment strategy, LSST team members recently attended the American Astronomical Society Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, and the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation conference in Montréal, Quebec, Canada, personally interacting with top scientists, engineers, educators and administrators in fields related to telescope construction and operation. Through active outreach efforts, word-of-mouth and a strong online presence, LSST is seeking highly-skilled individuals to join the project at this critical and exciting time in astronomical history.

The LSST Hiring Campaign website will be updated to show new positions as they become available. There are 12 open positions as we go to press with this issue of E-News.


Victoria Strait. Image Credit: Tony Tyson

Furman University junior Victoria Strait is a 2014 summer REU intern at UC Davis, working with Tony Tyson, Sam Schmidt, and James Jee. Victoria is applying her knowledge of astronomy and python programming to the problem of star-galaxy separation in very deep imaging surveys. The Deep Lens Survey is an LSST precursor survey. Using Deep Lens Survey data, plus recent infrared coverage of those same fields, Victoria is designing an optimal star-galaxy separation algorithm, which makes use of all the multicolor and morphology information.

Gretchen Stahlman. Image Credit: Shemyr Caro Muñoz

Gretchen Stahlman, a doctoral student at the UA School of Information Resources & Library Sciences, is working with Suzanne Jacoby and the Communications Team to update LSST’s image use policy and communication processes as well as designing a web-based timeline and framework to digitally archive historical information about the development and construction of LSST, among other projects related to communication.

Zachary Reyna. Image Credit: Emily Acosta

Zachary Reyna, an undergraduate engineering student from Iowa State University, is working with LSST Safety Officer Chuck Gessner to conduct a safety/human factors/ergonomic analysis of the dome and its subsystems.

Welcome, Interns!

L1/L2 Lenses

Through a competitive bidding process, LSST has selected Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to design and build the L1-L2 lens assembly, which includes two refractive lenses and the precision support structure to which the lenses will be mounted. As described in a recent Ball Aerospace press release, the company will work closely with Arizona Optical Systems (AOS) to machine and polish the lenses and conduct optical testing. Ball Aerospace has previously participated in space telescope projects such as NASA’s Kepler and Landsat-8 missions, among other Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other government ventures. Ball Aerospace will use this formidable expertise to design and integrate the L1-L2 lens assembly, representing a significant contribution to the success of LSST.

DrupalCon Austin

Approximately 3,300 people attended DrupalCon Austin, including the LSST web team.

The LSST web team made its annual trip to DrupalCon June 2-6 with the maturing LSST website redesign project in mind. Drupal is a free, modular, and open source content management framework used by LSST for its websites. DrupalCon, the largest gathering of Drupal developers and users, afforded the LSST web team the opportunity to meet, brainstorm, and share lessons learned with the approximately 3,300 other Drupal users who attended. During the week in Austin, Texas, the team focused on sessions addressing “Frankensites,” accessibility, security, and best practices for upgrading to new Drupal versions. Read more…

In the News


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; Columbia University; 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; Northwestern University; 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 Oxford; 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)
  • 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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