Large Synoptic Survey Telescope gets Top Ranking, “a Treasure Trove of Discovery”

August 13, 2010 — In a report released this morning, "New Worlds and New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics," a prestigious committee convened by the National Research Council for the National Academy of Sciences ranked the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) as its top priority for the next large ground-based astronomical facility. The so-called "Astro2010" report states "The committee recommends that LSST be submitted immediately for NSF's Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) consideration with a view to achieving first light before the end of the decade. ...The top rank accorded to LSST is a result of (1) its compelling science case and capacity to address so many of the science goals of this survey and (2) its readiness for submission to the MREFC process as informed by its technical maturity, the survey's assessment of risk, and appraised construction and operations costs. Having made considerable progress in terms of its readiness since the 2001 survey, the committee judged that LSST was the most ready-to-go."

"We are absolutely delighted to hear this strong endorsement from our colleagues in the scientific community for a project that we have been advocating for many years", said LSST Director and University of California, Davis, Professor J. Anthony Tyson. "LSST will transform the way we study the Universe. By mapping the visible sky deeply and rapidly, the LSST will let everyone experience a novel view of our Universe and enable exploration of exciting new questions in a variety of areas of astronomy and fundamental physics."

In 2003, the LSST Corporation was formed as a non-profit 501(c)3 Arizona corporation with headquarters in Tucson, AZ, to design, construct, and operate the LSST. By June 2010 membership has expanded to thirty four members including:

Adler Planetarium, Brookhaven National Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Chile, Cornell University, Drexel University, George Mason University, Google Inc., Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Institut de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3), Johns Hopkins University, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network Inc., Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Optical 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 Pennsylvania State University, The University of Arizona, University of California - Davis, University of California - Irvine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Washington, and Vanderbilt University.

The LSST design and development activity is supported by the National Science Foundation under CSA Award No. AST-1036980 through Governing Cooperative Agreement 0809409. Portions of this work are supported by the Department of Energy under contract DEAC02-76SF00515 with the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, contract DE-AC02-98CH10886 with Brookhaven National Laboratory, and contract DE-AC52-07NA27344 with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Additional funding comes from private donations, grants to universities, and in-kind support at Department of Energy laboratories and other LSSTC Institutional Members.