Kickstarter Grants Program

Program Goals

The program particularly wants to foster collaborative research, and to kickstart participation by researchers and institutions that have not previously been involved with Rubin science. The participating Science Collaborations actively seek to nurture a culture that is welcoming and inclusive of people from diverse backgrounds with regard to race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, disability, and veteran status. Proposals led by applicants from communities that were traditionally withheld from astronomy are particularly encouraged.

We will be hosting an online workshop on Sept 8 & 9, 2021, to foster collaborations and kickstart proposal collaborations. More information on the workshop will be available shortly.

Call for Proposals

The full details of the call for proposals can be found here.

FAQ

Answers to some common questions can be found here.

Program Scale and Key Dates

We expect to award around 30 individual/team grants of about (US)$20,000 each, plus a smaller number of partnership grants (supporting two or more institutions) of up to around (US)$30,000 each. The duration of this program is 1yr, and the grants are expected to be awarded in November 2021 and spend the funds by July 2022.

Proposal call releaseAug 31, 2021
Kickstarter workshopSeptember 8 & 9, 2021
Proposals dueSeptember 30, 2021, by 11:59pm PDT
Grant durationNovember 2021 - summer 2022
Kickstarter Projects

The following Kickstarter projects are now underway

Individual/team Projects

TVS

USA

KSI-1

When stars pass too close to a supermassive black hole, they may be torn apart and accreted, releasing a bright flare. These exotic transient events are rare in current transient surveys but will be found in large numbers with Rubin Observatory. A key challenge in finding and characterising such Tidal Disruption Events (TDEs) will be distinguishing them from noise and contaminating sources. The proposed grant would fund two undergraduate research students and the PI to conduct summer research connecting observations of TDEs, variable nuclear activity, and likely contaminating sources using a combination of literature observations, directly-simulated data and Rubin Data Preview 0 (DP0) simulated data. This work complements the work of the Transients and Variable Stars science collaboration, especially the TDE working group and DP0 task force, of which the PI is a member. These funds would support two undergraduate students in research to further their careers and provide experience in a supportive research environment.

TVS

USA

KSI-2

Multi-messenger sources of astrophysical transients are changing the face of time-domain astronomy. Recently, the detection of GW1708171, its short GRB afterglow e.g.2 and an op- tical/infrared “kilonova” counterpart, AT2017gfo e.g.3 introduced the world to the scientific potential of discovering counterparts to gravitational-wave (GW) detections such as those made by Advanced LIGO4 and Advanced Virgo5. In addition, searches for afterglows from gamma–ray bursts (GRBs) have been relevant for optical fast-transient discovery6, while there are also now optically identified tidal disruption events (TDEs) potentially associated with neutrino sources7. With Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST)8 on the horizon, it has become particularly necessary to continue the search for such objects in optical, wide-field survey data. In this proposal, we will extend dedicated, public technology to study the possible detection of multi-messenger transients with the Vera Rubin Observatory. Undergraduate students, through an exchange program with the University of Minnesota and Universite Cote d’Azur, will build upon an existing publicly developed and available software package appropriate for the LSST era, to enable integrated science from these facilities.

TVS

USA>

KSI-3

Eclipsing binary stars (EBs) have long served as the cornerstone of stellar astrophysics. The fortuitous alignment of their orbits with our line of sight, coupled with the well-under- stood laws of Newtonian two-body dynamics, allow us to characterize their components from EB lightcurves. Observing strategies of surveys lend themselves particularly well for follow- ing up known EBs and discovering new EBs, and Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) is no exception. We already have observations of millions of EB lightcurves, at a much better cadence than LSST will provide us over 10 years of observation, so the benefit might not be immediately apparent; the catch is in the magnitude range of observations. Our sample of galactic EBs is largely complete for spectral types of K and earlier, but those pesky M-dwarfs are intrinsically so faint that they elude most surveys. Given that M-dwarfs dominate our galactic population, that they vary drastically as a func- tion of spectral subtype, and that they seem to prefer single stellar systems to binaries, it becomes apparent that the current EB sample is woefully incomplete for understanding low mass stars. With its r ∼ 24.5 magnitude cut-off, LSST will provide us with observations of M-M pairs hither-to unparalleled. The focus of the proposed project is to estimate the num- ber of M-M pairs that LSST will discover and evaluate detection efficiency as a function of observing strategy for the main mission and deep drilling fields. The PI served as co-chair of the TVS Interacting binaries subgroup and has ample experience with both EBs and LSST. The PI’s own multiple stellar system (3 young stellar objects of 6yo and younger) eclipsed all EBs during the pandemic. The project budgets for ∼1 month for the PI to conduct this work and, with the pandemic situation ameliorating, reconnect with TVS in general, and Interacting binary subgroup in particular.

TVS

USA

KSI-4

The TVS Roadmap is a substantial document that contains the contributions of ap- proximately 50 authors describing the future science of the Transient and Variable Science Collaboration (TVS). This document needs to be completed. More than one year has been spent collecting accounts from specialists in each science area through telecons and working meetings to produce the document as it stands. The work on the roadmap, however, came to a speeding halt when COVID-19 reshaped our personal and work lives. This hard work by all the various facets of the TVS is in its final stages and only requires technical sections to be written, executive accounts (synopses of the various chapters) to be written, editing and publishing. Here we propose to complete this important document and have it published in a well known journal. We are already in contact with the publishers at PASP (Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific), who have indicated that they would be interested in publishing our work.

TVS

USA

KSI-5

The Pulsating Stars Subgroup is a working group within TVS that focuses on stellar pulsation science within the framework of the Rubin Observatory. As the primary contact of this group, the PI has so far been interacting with the group via emails, office hours and through a task force dedicated to crowded field photometry. As first light draws near, however, and the decisions regarding LSST cadence, survey strategy and commissioning are being made, now is the time to form a cohesive group to advocate for pulsating star science. The PI proposes to kickstart the group through a range of activities including: regular telecons; the creation of a roadmap; the submission of survey cadence metrics; and the creation of a webpage, which would be embedded in the TVS webpage. By designating more time to her Subgroup, the PI will significantly enhance the production of pulsating star science with Rubin LSST data.

SMWLV

USA

KSI-6

Beginning in 2024, the ten-year Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) of the Rubin Observatory will be the premier optical/IR astronomical dataset for the next several decades. It is essential to select an LSST observing strategy that maximizes the scientific output of the Rubin Observatory. During 2020-2021, the proposers have worked to explore the utility of various candidate observing strategies for Galactic science. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these collaborations have proceeded remotely and have been significantly slowed down. Now that travel restrictions are starting to lift, in-person collaborations are becoming possible again, at precisely the right time to bring in-progress cadence investigations to completion. We therefore seek support for two in-person collaboration visits, by the US-based PI to two pairs of colleagues in Italy, to make significant progress on four investigations into the LSST observing strategy for SMWLV and TVS’ scientific goals. The main deliverable of this requested project will be between two and four papers submitted to the ApJS special focus issue on LSST cadence, to be submitted by the end of Summer 2022.

SMWLV

USA

KSI-7

The Science Collaborations (SCs) of the Rubin Observatory serve several vital goals in both the maximization of the scientific return of the Rubin Observatory, and in increasing access and participation by the scientific community in Rubin Observatory science. The Stars, Milky Way & Local Volume (SMWLV) SC covers an enormously diverse range of science and participants. With Rubin Observatory main operations expected to start in early 2024, and the accompanying federation of the SC’s, the duties performed by the SMWLV collaboration co-chairs have increased substantially. With this proposal, we seek some salary support for two of the SMWLV co-chairs during the first half of 2022, to enable them to devote time and effort to the smooth running of the collaboration. Activities include: finalization and ratification of governance documents; overhauling and maintaining the collaboration membership list and website; staffing and running task forces in response to needs of the community and project; updating and staffing of the science working groups; facilitating SMWLV community investigations into Rubin Observatory configuration and its delivered science; and incorporating effort contributions from international investigations into SMWLV’s efforts.

TVS, SMWLV

Italy

KSI-8

The early Vera Rubin Telescope LSST data releases will be a goldmine to characterize stellar populations in our Galaxy and its satellites: a perfect laboratory to study galaxy formation and its evolution. Using observed properties of variable stars (RR Lyrae, PopII/Anomalous/Classical Cepheids, Mira) and our own set of theoretical models the INAF STellar Evolution and Pulsation (STEP) team will soon support ongoing projects concerning the use of classical pulsating stars as stellar tracers and distance indicators. To be ready to manage the enormous amount of data arriving soon, we engaged since the beginning a close collaboration with TVS and SMWLV Science Collaborations, with special focus on survey strategy choice, early science and commissioning. On this regard, the small grant we are requesting will be used to support and consolidate a collaboration born within STEP team which since several months has been working on the development and distribution to the community of valid tools for the recovery of the shape and period of the light curves of classic pulsating stars in different Galactic stellar environments.

SSSC

USA

KSI-9

Mega-constellations of tens of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit pose new challenges to Astronomy. Upcoming surveys are now beginning to assess how satellite trails in images might affect scientific outcomes. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory team is pioneering efforts to identify and mitigate satellite trails in images. However, impact assessment and mitigation studies have yet to be performed for Solar System science with Rubin. In this proposal we ask for undergraduate research support to quantify satellite interference with Rubin Solar System science. Our aim is to better understand how mega-constellations might affect the discovery of previously unknown Solar System Objects, in particular near-Earth asteroids. To this end we will perform forward simulations of mega-constellation satellite trail positions and their effect on Solar System Object discovery with LSST.

SMWLV

Brazil

KSI-10

The Lambda-CDM model states that galaxies are formed following the 'bottom-up' scenario, where the dwarf galaxies are firstly formed and then merged, building the giant galaxies as the Milky-Way (MW). In this way, a complete census of the dwarf galaxies in the surrounds of our Galaxy is an important tool to (1) provide strong constraints in the galaxy formation such as the reionization era and infall time, (2) probe the 'missing satellites problem' in the Local Volume, and (3) fix initial constraints about age and chemical abundances for this kind of objects. It is expected that Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) will discover at least 4 times more dwarf galaxies/globular clusters than the Dark Energy Survey (DES), about 60 dwarf galaxies brighter than L>103 L(Sun) following [Hargis et al 2014], and accounting for real discoveries based on the DES data. The challenge now is to develop robust unsupervised methods to efficiently identify resolved stellar systems in a scale compatible to the LSST data volume. We are currently exploring a new method based on the wavelet algorithm, successfully used to identify clusters of galaxies [aka WaZP, Aguena et al. 2021], to detect dwarf galaxies / star clusters at different distance slices using the appropriate Hess-diagrams for stars of a given metallicy and age range as a filter. This project is designed to further explore the performance of the method using simulated models of the Galaxy and realistic mock stellar systems based on their observed properties. To this end we propose to fund one postdoc with background in astronomy and two undergraduate students with science/computer science interests to help further develop the codes and carry out tests using real data from DES, and simulated data from LSST/Data Preview Zero (DP0).

SSSC

Brazil

KSI-11

Stellar occultations are a powerful observational technique for the determination of sizes and shapes of small bodies in the Solar System with kilometric accuracy. In addition, an investigation of the neighbourhoods of the occulting body is also possible and may lead to the discovery and analysis of rings, jets, satellites and atmospheres as tenous as a few nanobars. One of the interesting features of a stellar occultation is that it does not matter how faint the target object is, it is enough to record the flux variation from the star it occults as its light is temporarily blocked by the small body. Therefore, high angular resolution information can be obtained for the faintest objects if the occultation event involves a bright enough (V~16.0) star. A crucial step in this process is the prediction of such an event. With the LSST, tens of thousands of TNOs will be observed and have their positions given with respect to the Gaia astrometry so that the number of reliable predictions for a variety of interesting objects will experience an unprecedented increase. In this context, the python-based library SORA has been developed. It provides a rigorous python-based library for the analysis of light curves from stellar occultations. A graphical interface for SORA would make it more accessible not only to the occultation community but to those - amateurs hopefully - who wish to contribute to and better understand the analysis of an occultation light curve. Software specialists are required to develop the user interface (front-end) and the necessary tools for the communication between this front-end and the scientific code.

SSSC

USA

KSI-12

Dynamical analyses of small bodies have led to many important insights in planetary science. The dynamical evolution of an observed small body’s orbit can place it into context as, for example, a likely primordial small body whose orbit has remained largely unchanged since formation (like the New Horizons target Arrokoth); similarly, dynamical evolution marked by rapid changes can indicate an object belongs to a short-lived, transient class of objects such as the giant-planet crossing Centaur population. Calculation of proper orbital elements can reveal groupings of objects, such as collisional families. Identification of objects in mean mo- tion resonances (MMRs) can help test models of the solar system’s early dynamical history. The SSSC has identified the need for user-friendly, accessible tools for dynamical analyses (Hsieh et al. 2019) to help fully exploit LSST’s quantity and quality of small body observa- tions and enable transformative scientific progress in many areas of planetary science. We have plans to develop an open-source Python package that takes a small body orbit, performs dynamical integrations of its orbital evolution, calculates a variety of dynamical parameters, and outputs dynamical characterizations and classifications. We have the expertise to do this, but currently lack funding. While we continue to apply to larger grant programs, the preliminary work described here would both immediately benefit the SSSC and increase the likelihood of obtaining future funding.

TVS

Spain

KSI-13

Rubin-LSST will provide an unprecedented combination of time coverage, 6-bands photometric depth and spatial extension for a variety of environments. In partic- ular, crowded stellar fields (the Galactic Plane and Bulge, Galactic Globular Clusters, the Magellanic Clouds) will be of particular interest for a relevant part of the Community that investigate a series of astrophysical topics, spanning from the physics of variable stars to Galactic structure and near-field cosmology. A key role will be played by periodic variable stars (intrinsic, such as RR Lyrae stars, Anomalous and Classical Cepheids, Delta Scuti stars, Miras, but also eclipsing binaries), which have traditionally been used as population tracers and standard candles. For these reasons, it is essential to have access to efficient tools, ca- pable of providing reliable identification, classification, and recovering the period, amplitude and mean magnitudes of candidate variable stars. We therefore propose to adapt and test current state-of-the-art analysis tools, to work with the simulated DP0 data, and with Galac- tic Plane and Bulge DECam data. Our deliverables will be a python package to interface the Rubin-LSST data with selected analysis software (which can eventually be made available on the Science Platform), and a report with the performance of the selected software on both the DP0 and the DECam data. We will complete our analysis on the DECam data around the Bulge Globular Cluster NGC 6569, which has been extensively used as a benchmark for the TVS crowded stellar fields Task Force since 2018. We will deliver a science paper, which will be published according to the TVS publication policy. Finally, we will produce a novel analysis of variable stars in a DECam disc field close to the Galactic plane, using deep data that will allow us to test the variability algorithms with different stellar populations and crowding conditions.

SSSC

USA

KSI-14

We’ve all run into issues with trying to install software we’d like to use for our science but only out-dated or non-existent documentation, unintuitive installation processes, and/or little information about required default and configuration settings are available. For a community largely backed by student and volunteer effort, easily installable software is a key component to increase participation in preparatory science for LSST. While there have been efforts to do this in some collaborations (e.g., DESC), the situation is far from ideal in other areas, such as Solar System science. This software includes a number of orbit-fitting, orbit propagation, ephemeris generation, and numerical integration packages. These packages are used throughout the Solar System community to determine orbits for moving objects, propagate orbits, generate ephemerides for objects of interest, or perform numerical simulations of the various moving object populations. The often complicated installation and setup process for getting started with new-to-the-user software that can be required for doing science with telescopic observations and studies of Solar System objects is an unnecessary obstacle to those trying to get involved in preparatory work for doing Solar System science with LSST. In particular, this hinders students who are just starting out and want to become involved in the LSST Solar System Science Collaboration (SSSC) and contribute to LSST preparatory work. To remove this roadblock, we propose to make a number of these software packages easily installable with standard scientific ecosystem tools -- Python’s pip and Anaconda’s conda -- as well as provide updated, thorough documentation for their installation and configuration settings. This work will benefit the SSSC and the science its members can do both in preparing for LSST and with the data upon survey start. It will also broaden participation and lower the entry barrier for involvement with the SSSC and LSST.

SSSC

USA

KSI-15

A number of orbit-fitting software packages are used throughout the Solar System science community to determine orbits for moving Solar System objects from their observations. However, few of these commonly-used packages provide end-to-end tests of their orbit determination calculations that can verify and validate their results, which can lead to uncertainty about the integrity of their fitted orbits. This can induce problems when trying to fit an orbit for a newly-discovered object with a short observational arclength, be particularly troubling when trying to fit orbits for Earth-crossing asteroids that have a non-negligible impact probability, and lead to erroneous orbits and potential loss of a newly-discovered moving object. To ensure the science community of the integrity of the results from these orbit-fitting packages, we thus propose to build and maintain an end-to-end verification and validation testing framework for the three orbit-fitting software packages most commonly used among the community. Providing this test suite will allow a more diverse group of users to verify and validate their orbit-fitting results from these packages than are currently able to do so. Without the proposed testing framework, the ability to be confident in one’s results will be limited to those with the time, knowledge, and willingness to verify the results on their own. A publicly available and maintained testing suite will expand both confidence in, and understanding of, the accuracy of computed results to anyone, regardless of their previous experience with the software in question. This will, in turn, allow any student or researcher at any institution regardless of the expertise available to them (including those at institutions which serve communities that have been traditionally withheld from astronomy) to become involved in the SSSC and LSST preparatory work and have the same chance as anyone else to make amazing discoveries within the LSST data.

TVS, SMWLV

Italy

KSI-16

The Transient and Variable Stars (TVS) Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) group proposes to host bystander intervention training via an online colloquium. This will be made available to all Science Collaboration (SC) members of Vera C. Rubin Observatory LSST. The JEDI TVS group was formed to ensure that the TVS is an inclusive, supportive, and equitable environment. But reaching this goal is not simple. Particularly, in an organization composed of volunteers rather than employees, enforcing best practices and supporting equity can be difficult. While the JEDI is proactively initiating many activities designed to improve equity and inclusion, to ensure we are able to respond effectively to issues within our SC and all SCs, we need to be trained by experts that work on this topic, ideally with experience in working in STEM fields. Prompted by this need, we propose a small grant project to cover the $6000 fee of a training organization such as National Conflict Resolution Center.

SMWLV

USA

KSI-17

The Rubin Legacy Survey of Space and Time will enable revolutionary scientific research, but require significant computing power and data storage for discovery. While the US Data Access Center will support computationally intensive analysis, there is potential for significant oversubscription of its resources. The Independent Data Access Centers (IDACs), contributed through the Rubin In-Kind program, have the potential to alleviate this oversubscription, but only if well matched to the scientific problems that the Rubin Science Collaborations aim to address. With this proposal, we seek support to hold a workshop that will 1) identify computationally intensive science use cases through the Science Collaborations; 2) identify the Rubin data, other data, and computational resources needed to support them; and 3) match the use cases to potential IDACs.

SMWLV

USA

KSI-18

LSST will detect hundreds of thousands of the lowest-mass ultracool stars and brown dwarfs, enabling detailed investigations of the luminosity function, Galactic distribution, and forma- tion history of these objects in multiple populations down to and below the hydrogen fusing limit. Ultracool dwarfs are also an important foreground contaminant in studies of the high- est redshift quasars. Accurate modeling of this population in LSST DP0 and ultimately in the main survey is critical for achieving key science objectives identified by the Stars, Milky Way, and Local Volume (SMLV) Collaboration, and for defining clean samples for cosmologi- cal science. However, the current LSST DP0 dataset does not accurately model the low-mass content of the Milky Way, missing interdependent evolutionary and metallicity effects in the properties of ultracool dwarfs that can potentially skew expectations in science planning. We propose to generate an addendum catalog that accurately simulates the ultracool dwarf population in LSST that can be integrated into future DP releases in support of planning science. In the process, we will develop an open-source simulation tool that can be used to investigate ultracool dwarf populations in the full survey.

TVS

New Zealand

KSI-19

The University of Canterbury’s Ōtehīwai Mt John Observatory in New Zealand is uniquely placed on the planet to provide temporally complementary data to Rubin Observatory. Using our 1.8m with its 2.2 sq. deg. imager, which has newly come available with a large southern-summer block of dedicated observing time, we will conduct tests to scope out the photometric performance, cadence, footprints and data delivery that we can offer — so that we can perform custom co-surveying tuned to TVS and SSSC desires each summer of the LSST.

TVS

USA

KSI-20

This program seeks to kickstart activities in the Transients and Variable Stars Supernova Working Group (TVS SN WG) by providing financial support to 1-2 new SN WG Coordinators so that they can dedicate time to enacting the 9-month plan presented in this proposal. The time is ripe for the SN WG to revitalize its collaborative efforts: precursor time-domain surveys, observing strategy simulations, and algorithmic and infrastructure software are all in need of attention as the Rubin commissioning phase looms over the horizon. As described below, we seek funding to support service contributions to the Science Collaborations, Science Collaboration task force activities, travel to the annual Rubin 2022 Project and Community Workshop, and publication page charges.

SMWLV

USA

KSI-21

We propose to provide intensive training and research opportunities for underrepresented minority students through working on our existing Solar System broker SNAPS (the Solar System Notification Alert Processing System). These students will help us advance SNAPS development during summer and fall, 2022, so that we will be prepared to work at LSST scale by 2023. We will leverage Northern Arizona University’s Hispanic Serving Insitution status and research success in astroinformatics. We will recruit students from our computer science, astronomy, and astroinformatics undergraduate programs. These students will be paid a stipend to attend a one week boot camp in summer 2022 to receive intensive training in computer science and astronomy topics. After students gain this foundational knowledge, we will then create projects where students will work in interdisciplinary teams to address LSST Solar System science goals. By design, these teams will promote the cross- fertilization of knowledge between fields. Students will transition their projects from the boot camp to a one-credit semester-long class, with tuition paid by this grant. Between the boot camp and the semester-long class, the proposed project will provide technical training and reduce barriers to entry for minority students. This proposal will expose underrepresented minority students to new research and employment opportunities and help students make the transition to graduate school and/or technical jobs after graduating from NAU.

TVS

USA

KSI-22

We are building Trailblazer [1], an open data repository for astronomical images affected by satellites. This novel service will enable researchers to quantify the science impacts of increasing numbers of bright low-Earth-orbit commercial satellite constellations before and during Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). These impacts are expected to be significant — especially for large etendue facilities like Rubin, and in the increasingly likely case of tens of thousands of bright satellites in the coming decade. Previous studies [2,3,4,5] have raised concerns for impacts in weak lensing cosmology, near-Earth asteroid discoveries, and other programs that are constrained to twilight observing hours. However, the impacts on other science investigations including detecting and characterizing transients, stellar astrophysics (including multiple and variable stars), and Milky Way mapping studies are not well understood. Trailblazer will enable these impacts to be quantitatively estimated for the first time so astronomers can prepare mitigation strategies to maximize return on their LSST science. This proposal is to fund one Trailblazer developer at 0.15–0.2 FTE at the research scientist or postdoc level at the University of Washington/DiRAC to spearhead launching the service in earnest in early 2022, so we may begin collecting and studying data products with satellite streaks and quantifying their science impact before LSST Operations in 2024. In addition, the proposal will support two members of the Trailblazer team to attend AAS 239 or a similar large meeting to introduce Trailblazer to the astronomical community.

SSSC

UK

KSI-23

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Solar System Science Collaboration (SSSC) has identified key software products/tools that must be developed by the LSST user community to achieve the planetary community’s LSST science goals. For the past two years, we have been developing an open-source Community LSST Solar System Survey Simulator that takes a model Solar System small body population and uses the pointing history, observation metadata, and expected Rubin Observatory detection efficiency to output what LSST should find so that the numbers and types of simulated detections can be directly compared to the number and types of real small bodies found in the actual LSST survey. To make this software truly usable by those outside of our small group and accessible to all SSSC members and the wider planetary astronomy community requires a significant dedicated undertaking in documentation and tutorial/guides. This activity is funded under the grants that supported the development of the survey simulator. This Kickstarter program provides the unique opportunity to devote dedicated time to create tutorial videos, notebooks, and help guides to enable us to make the LSST Solar System Survey Simulator a real community-wide research tool.

TVS

Denmark

KSI-24

Dedicated rapid follow-up spectroscopic observations of transient events in real time in response to the alert stream from the Rubin Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) alert brokers will be a rare resource. The Danish 1.54-meter telescope on La Silla, Chile, which is in close physical proximity to the Vera C. Rubin Telescope, may offer such an opportunity. Here we propose to develop a software package for robotic telescopes to produce fully automated target selection from LSST alert broker streams. The package will include the ingestion and processing of the LSST alerts, generation of a selected target list and priority ranking that is based on target and telescope properties. We seek to support a young scientist for a four- month research stay at DARK to develop a prototype. This includes inquiry of the technical specifications of the telescope and developing a preliminary algorithm based on simple event and telescope parameters. This will be the first phase towards establishing the Danish 1.54- meter telescope as either a fully robotic or remote controlled telescope to be used in support of rapid exploration of the LSST transient sky from which all spectroscopic classifications will be made public. This will enable breakthrough discoveries that may revolutionize scientific research and, hence, will be of great interest to the LSST Science Community.

TVS

Denmark

KSI-25

Accurate photometric redshifts of Vera C. Rubin telescope Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) detected sources are highly desired to measure distances to high precision to reach the cosmological science goals of LSST. Within the LSST community and astrophysics community in general, there are enormous efforts undertaken to find machine learning algo- rithm that can accurately estimate probability density functions for photometric redshifts, in particular, when taking photometric measurement uncertainties into account. Here we pro- pose a project to test two different machine learning methods to predict photometric redshifts from the first release of simulated LSST data, the Data Preview 0 (DP0). The DP0 data are made available at the Rubin Science Platform and are meant to prepare the LSST commu- nity to perform groundbreaking LSST science. This project will support a young scientist to work with LSST data, who is an up-and-coming expert in developing and applying machine learning models for different astrophysical science cases. In turn, the outcome of the project will be made available to the LSST science collaborations such as the TVS, SMWLV or SSSC, and to all DP0 delegates. We will produce and share a tutorial and Jupyter notebook at the Rubin Science Platform.

Partnership Projects

TVS

USA

KSP-1

Multi-messenger sources of astrophysical transients are changing the face of time-domain astronomy. Recently, the detection of GW170817, its short gamma–ray bursts (GRB) after- glow and the optical/infrared “kilonova” counterpart, AT2017gfo, introduced the world to the scientific potential of discovering counterparts to gravitational-wave (GW) detections such as those made by the interferometers Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo. In addition, searches for afterglows from GRBs have been relevant for optical fast-transient discovery. With Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) on the hori- zon, it has become necessary to continue the search for such objects in optical, wide-field survey data. In this proposal, we will extend dedicated, public technology to study the possible detection of multi-messenger transients with the Vera Rubin Obser- vatory. Students, through an exchange program with the Joint Space-Science Institute (at University of Maryland) and INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma (INAF-OAR) in Italy, will build upon an existing publicly developed and DP0 data products to enable kilonova discovery in the Rubin era.

TVS

USA

KSP-2

Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) promises to deliver transformational data to a huge community of users, including all US and Chilean sci- entists and several international communities. Furthermore, a time-domain core data product of LSST, the alert packets, will be world public. Yet, we believe insufficient considerations have been made on the broad accessibility of these data: here we propose to develop a plan to make the LSST data accessible to people with different abilities to see. By identifying the steps necessary to define a sonification scheme for the LSST time-domain data, implement its automation, and making sonified data accessible through the Rubin infrastructure we can open Rubin science up to a broader audience. To this end we propose to 1) connect the Rubin community with the Sonification World Chat working group by organizing a meeting of Rubin LSST Science Collaborations (SC) and Rubin Observatory members — including the Data Management, Community Engagement, and the Education and Public Outreach teams — and data sonification experts to identify the specific challenges that soni- fications of the LSST data will comport; 2) offer training to SC members interested in sonification by organizing a first sonification hackathon and inviting developers of the leading sonification software projects; and 3) develop a partnership between the University of Delaware (UD), an institution with a developed Rubin research program, and Lincoln University (LU), a Historically Black College and Univer- sity (HBCU), to develop sonificaton solutions for LSST time-domain data. This partnership will be the origin for the proposed development work that supports a UD student, an LU student, and an LU mentor. The elements of this program are diverse, but intertwined, and, in combination, will ensure the sustainability of the sonification effort within Rubin as well as of an LSST-based LU program. This is a partnership proposal.

TVS

Italy

KSI-3

We aim at investigating the physics of young stellar objects (YSOs), including their variability on a wide range of timescales (from hours to years), thus exploiting the full capability that will be available with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory LSST. The high cadence that can be achieved in combination with the total survey duration, will make Rubin LSST ideal to study short-term and long-term variability in YSOs (e.g. due to accretion bursts, also in eruptive objects as EXors). The analysis of the light curves (LCs) will allow us to discriminate among different physical processes at work in YSOs: mass accretion events, starspots, magnetic cycles, flares, presence of warp disks, and stellar rotation. We propose here to continue our preparatory work on which most of the team members have focused in the last years with their activities in the Transients and Variable Stars (TVS) and Stars, Milky Way, and Local Volume (SMWLV) Science Collaborations (SCs). In this project we ask funds to hire a Post-Doc (with co-funds from this Grants and INAF – Observatory of Palermo, OAPa, funds) that will work in strong collaboration with both co-PIs and all the co-Is to: 1) investigate properties of YSOs and their variability by analyzing the LCs mainly in the u, g, r, i bands, also with other data sets already available as a preparatory work for future Rubin LSST data; 2) explore 3D models to investigate YSO variability (e.g. accretion, warp disks, rotation); 3) utilize these model to print 3D rendering to help in the research dissemination towards visually impaired members of the community. These renderings will ultimately enhance Rubin LSST science accessibility and inclusiveness.

SMWLV

USA

KSP-4

We propose to obtain a more complete picture of the assembly history of the Milky Way Galaxy, by using LSST passbands to search for the disruption and dissolution of the globular clusters in the inner regions of the Galaxy. Using new photometric data from Blanco DECam Bulge Survey (BDBS), a precursor LSST focusing on the densely populated inner Galaxy, we will carry out an examination for extra-tidal stars and tails around two massive inner Galaxy globular clusters to reveal how those building blocks contributed to the formation of the inner Galaxy. We will focus on the inner Galaxy clusters, FSR 1758 and NGC 6441. Candidate extra-tidal stars will be found using BDBS ugriz photometry combined with Gaia proper motions and parallaxes. In particular, the u-band photometry can serve as a metallicity proxy to aid in our selection process. Spectra from the Anglo-Australian Telescope will be used to confirm if our candidate extra-tidal stars have radial velocities and metallicities consistent with membership. We have already begun sifting through the BDBS dataset to select bona fide cluster stars from their photometry as well as Gaia proper motions and parallaxes. This proposal requests us to follow up our most promising candidates with AAOmega on the AAT. Our spectroscopic confirmation of a statistical sample of extra-tidal stars around NGC 6441 and FSR 1758 using BDBS photometry will lay the foundation for a cleaner selection of extra-tidal GCs (and stellar streams) to be identified once the deeper LSST photometry is available.

TVS

USA

KSP-5

With this project we bring together two LSST in-kind groups from Serbia and Croatia aiming to enlarge their research capacities in the area of data storage, data processing and management, for the science directly related to the LSST. Within the proposed collaboration we envision a need for an important component - data storage. Both groups will generate significant amount of data through their LSST in-kind contributions, i.e. the intermediate and final data products of the LSST related science. Thus, here we propose procurement and installation of cloud data storage, which will be located at University of Kragujevac in Serbia, with the aim to significantly increase its research capacities for astronomy and data science. In addition, the data storage will be used as a data heritage repository long after the LSST project ends. The completion of this project will have the following outputs: i) the first open-access storage system for the LSST related science in the region; ii) well established long-term col- laboration between the two LSST in-kind teams; iii) increased astronomy research capacities at University of Kragujevac. Given the LSST intensive operational and in-kind contribution preparations, now is the right time for the two groups to continue to progress with this project.

SMWLV

USA

KSP-6

One of the most exciting projects in Astronomy is the Rubin Observatory. The Simonyi telescope at the Rubin observatory will survey the sky for the next ten years, obtaining a large amount of exquisite data. The data the observatory will provide to the community will be science ready, and astronomers worldwide using this data need solely focus on the data's scientific exploration without worrying about the processes behind this data analysis process. In order to ensure this high quality, we need to meticulously test the data pipeline reduction process used to obtain the final data product under different conditions. In astronomy, one of the most challenging tasks is the data analysis in crowded fields, where the density of stars is so large that the many stars overlap in the image and cause confusion in their flux measurement. In this proposal, we want to test the LSST pipeline in crowded fields extensively; specifically, we will be using DECam images of the bulge. The final data products from the LSST pipeline will be compared with traditional photometric extraction routines like DOPHOT, DAOPHOT, ALLSTAR. We are emphasizing study of the Galactic bulge and Magellanic clouds, where there is existing data obtained by the wide field Dark Energy Camera (DECam). These data are similar to what the Rubin Observatory will provide; the bulge and Magellanic Clouds are at different distances and have different histories, making them excellent targets for this study. Our pipeline test will help astronomers to gain confidence in the data reduction procedure used by the Rubin Observatory. We will make the data publicly available and report our findings to the Rubin Commissioning team as well as to the astronomical community. We will train future astronomers in the USA and Chile, teach them to work collaboratively across borders, and make sure to advocate for diversity and inclusion with our students.

TVS

USA

KSP-7

During the Rubin era, the time-domain data on transients, variables, and moving objects will come from both the LSST’s wide-fast-deep (WFD) main survey and its deep drilling fields (DDF), providing a rich ecosystem of detections at different depths and timescales. As a pathfinder we started a “Deep Drilling in the Time Domain with DECam” program with the CTIO 4m telescope in March 2021, and parts of the real-time processing and alert production pipeline are now operational at NERSC. This proposal requests funding for four students’ research and supervision as well as travel for work related to this LSST precursor survey, starting in November 2021. This grant proposal is a follow-up to a successful LSSTC Enabling Science proposal (which covers one student from June - October 2021). With this proposal, we aim to grow the involvement of students in preparatory LSST work, boost the research capacity of the PIs in this endeavor, and enhance US-Chile research partnerships.

TVS

USA

KSP-8

Rubin is approaching first light. In preparation for this new leap of Universe exploration several preparatory activities have been put forth by all the science collaborations (SC). At the same time, SCs have recognized the importance of preparing their members to fully access the data stream, data analysis packages, and the products that the LSST will provide at different timescales in order to achieve specific scientific goals. This proposal aims to create a new opportunity for prospective researchers to take advantage of these acquired knowledge and enables 1) new research ideas to be included in the SCs research plans; 2) foster long-lasting partnerships within Rubin; 3)establish a pipeline that will feed into the Rubin ecosystem a diverse population of researchers, especially coming from under represented groups. In order to achieve these goals we will match members of the TVS and other SCs with 4 faculty-student teams from minority serving institutions that have expressed a specific scientific interest.Under the guidance of the SCs members, the team will be participating in a one week hands-on remote workshop that will focus on a well defined research task centered on existing simulated data or other active areas of investigation at this stage. The faculty-student team will continue this work over the course of the following months, under the supervision of the SCs member. At the end of this proposed project we expect the following outcomes:a) the faculty will gain sufficient knowledge of the Rubin infrastructure, data, and software to conduct independent research or to actively collaborate with the SCs;b) the students will gain sufficient astronomical knowledge to increase their competitiveness in other research opportunities;c) increase the competitiveness of the faculty and students in grant-proposal processes;d) establish a sustainable bridge between Rubin and the institution through a partnership that centers on prospective Rubin scientists.

TVS

Argentina

KSP-9

We are a new group from Argentina, which has just joined Rubin’s Observatory Transient and Variable Stars (TVS) Science Collaboration. Our main goal with this proposal is to get ready to contribute to the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) both through the tools developed by the project, as well as through the infrastructure to perform real time follow- ups of transients discovered by the survey. In particular we would like to get ready to use the LSST simulation framework including the Operations Simulator (OpSims) and the Metrics Analysis Framework (MAF), to get involved with the data previews, get ready to perform follow-ups, and to be able to work on lightcurve generation and classification aimed at objects of interest like binary stars, microlensing events, kilonovae and tidal disruption events. We propose to carry out a few visits of members from the Argentinean side to institutions active in MAF, in the TVS groups and task forces, and in the follow-up programs. After these visits, we expect i) to have at least one member ready to use the MAF for their science cases, ii) to have two members ready to contribute to the task forces and subgroups, iii) to be ready to install a Target and Observation Manager (TOM) software in a telescope in Argentina. After those visits, we would like to host at least one TVS member in Argentina, for a direct interaction with the broader community. In this occasion we propose to hold a local workshop to give a broad overview of TVS science and providing hands-on training in the LSST tools and simulations. This workshop would benefit from this incoming visit and those that travelled to the TVS institutions would also be highly involved on their way back. All activities will be carried out in close coordination with TVS.

SSSC

New Zealand

KSP-10

The University of Canterbury’s Ōtehīwai Mt John Observatory in New Zealand, which will provide follow-up to Rubin Observatory discoveries for TVS and SSSC, is also a location of Ngāi Tahu’s Dark Sky Project astrotourism venture. We propose to co-develop teaching resources to support the creation of a Dark Sky Project educational and skygazing offering for schools at a range of levels, from kura kaupapa (Māori language immersion preschools) to high schools. We will also create relationships with artists — first to facilitate robust implementation of Māori astronomical science in a first-year undergraduate course, together with the Rubin Observatory Investigations we are piloting, and to lay the foundations of an artist-in-residence program at the Mt John Observatory for the future. The co-development will be designed to benefit both Ngāi Tahu’s endeavours and UC, building on discussions that have been taking place over the last eighteen months, but that have thus far been limited due to lack of resourcing.