Vera C. Rubin Observatory

Vera C. Rubin Observatory (formerly Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, LSST) is a project whose aim is to built an 8.4 m telescope capable to produce deep wide synoptic surveys of all sky, in particular to conduct the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). Its first light is expected in 2021. The summit facility is located on the Cerro Pachón ridge in north-central Chile. LSST leverages innovative technology in all subsystems, in particular the camera (3200 megapixels, the world’s largest digital camera) and telescope (simultaneous casting of the primary and tertiary mirrors; two aspherical optical surfaces on one substrate), as well as data management (15 terabytes of data nightly, nearly instant alerts issued for objects that change in position or brightness). The 8.4-meter telescope uses a special three-mirror design, creating an exceptionally wide field of view, and has the ability to survey the entire available sky in only three nights.

The goal of the Rubin Observatory is to conduct a 10-year survey of the sky that will deliver a 200 petabyte set of images and data products related to 37 billion astronomical sources. They will allow to address some of the most pressing questions about the structure and evolution of the universe and the objects in it. LSST will focus on four main science areas: (1) nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy; (2) hazardous asteroids and the remote Solar System; (3) the transient optical sky; (4) the formation and structure of the Milky Way.

Rubin Observatory will conduct a deep survey over an unprecedentedly big area of sky - the main survey will cover 18 000 square degrees. Frequency of observations will enable images of every part of the visible sky to be obtained every few nights. This operation mode executed for at least ten years will allow to achieve astronomical catalogs thousands of times larger than have ever previously been compiled.

The Polish LSST-PL consortium presently consists of 20 affiliated members from six Polish institutions: NCBJ (leader of the consortium), Jagiellonian University, Warsaw University, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Center for Theoretical Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The Polish participation in the project us funded by the grant of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education DIR/WK/2018/12.

The research carried out by the NCBJ researchers in preparation for the coming LSST data is partially covered by grants of the Polish National Science Center: UMO-2018/30/E/ST9/00082 and UMO-2018/30/M/ST9/00757.