“Rubin Observatory and LSST: Powering the Next Wave of Astronomical Discovery, from mapping the Solar System to understanding of Dark Energy”
The Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), starting in mid-2024, will be the most comprehensive optical astronomy project ever undertaken. Rubin will take panoramic images of the entire visible sky twice each week for 10 years, resulting in what can be called “the greatest movie of all time”. The resulting hundreds of petabytes of imaging data for close to 40 billion objects will be used for scientific investigations ranging from the properties of near-Earth asteroids to characterizations of dark matter and dark energy.
The University of Washington has been one of the four co-founders of the LSST project. Our team at UW’s DiRAC has been at the forefront of Rubin R&D and then construction over the past two decades. In this talk, we will give an overview of the Observatory and the LSST survey it will conduct. We will look into the science possibilities such a dataset will open, and the opportunities for advancing our understanding of the Universe across areas. We will also touch on the challenges to projects such as Rubin posed by satellite constellations like Starlink. And finally, we will discuss the exciting possibilities for LSST science here at UW: opportunities from finding new planets in the Solar System, to understanding the nature of Dark Energy.