LSST Science Collaborations

KPNO / NOIRLab / NSD / AURA /T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab)

In 2008, eleven separate quasi-independent science collaborations (SCs) were formed to focus on a broad range of topics in astronomy and cosmology that the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (Rubin LSST) could address. Members of these collaborations have been instrumental in helping to develop the science case for LSST (encapsulated in the LSST Science Book) and educate other scientists and the public about the promise of this unique observatory. 

Our Alliance with the Science Collaborations

The SCs are committed to working closely with LSST Discovery Alliance (LSST-DA) to help guide private funds to programs and activities that have broad scientific value. In 2019, the LSST SCs published a Letter of Endorsement for LSST-DA. LSST-DA funds the Science Collaboration Coordinator and provides SCs with communication resources, including a Slack Pro workspace and web pages.

LSST Science Collaboration Descriptions

There are currently eight active Rubin Observatory LSST SCs. Additional information about their work and membership can be found at the links below or by contacting the LSST SC Coordinator, Will Clarkson (University of Michigan-Dearborn). Please select Science Collaborations on the contact form.

Galaxies Science Collaboration (GSC)

Scientists in the LSST GSC will conduct a wide range of extragalactic research programs with LSST data. They will help the LSST Project develop critical user-contributed data and software products to enable astronomers from all over the world to conduct cutting-edge research programs of their own.

Visit the Galaxies Science Collaboration site.

  • Chairs: Sugata Kaviraj, University of Hertfordshire; Simona Mei, Universite de Paris
  • DM Liaison: Dan Taranu

Stars, Milky Way, and Local Volume Science Collaboration

The Stars, Milky Way, and Local Volume Collaboration has the overarching goals of understanding the accretion history and structure of the Milky Way and the Local Volume and the fundamental properties of stars within 300 pc of the Sun. These are also some of the main science drivers of both the telescope and the survey design of LSST, which will have unprecedented capability in the faint time domain.

Visit the Stars, Milky Way, and Local Volume Science Collaboration site.

  • Chairs: Peregrine McGehee (SLAC), Kristen Dage (Wayne State University)
  • DM Liaison: Colin Slater

Solar System Science Collaboration (SSSC)

The LSST Solar System Science Collaboration (SSSC) is preparing methods and tools to analyze the LSST data, as well as understand optimum survey strategies for discovering moving objects throughout the Solar System.

Visit the Solar System Science Collaboration site.

  • Chairs: Colin Chandler, University of Washington; Meg Schwamb, Queen’s University Belfast
  • DM Liaison: Mario Jurić

Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC)

Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC) is the international science collaboration that will make high-accuracy measurements of fundamental cosmological parameters using data from the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST).

Visit the Dark Energy Science Collaboration site.

  • Chairs: Renee Hlozek, University of Toronto, Tesla Jeltema, University of California – Santa Cruz
  • DM Liaisons: Robert Lupton and Leanne Guy

Active Galactic Nuclei Science Collaboration 

Data from LSST will allow the construction of a large sample of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs). When combined with multiwavelength data, we hope to select 20-50 million AGNs or more. We aim to pursue many topics, including massive AGN variability studies, triggered spectroscopic follow-up, microlensing studies of accretion disks, small-separation binary SMBHs, transient fueling of SMBHs, studies of the high-redshift AGN population, and studies of the environmental dependence of SMBH growth ranging from voids to superclusters.

Visit the Active Galactic Nuclei Science Collaboration site.

  • Chairs: W. Niel Brandt, Pennsylvania State University; Matthew Temple, Universidad Diego Portales
  • DM Liaison: Yusra AlSayyad

Transients and Variable Stars Science Collaboration 

The Transients and Variable (TVS) Stars Collaboration focuses on the study of the transient and variable sky through the LSST data, including a large and diverse range of phenomena: variable events, periodic or not, explosive and eruptive transients, and geometric transients (e.g. eclipsing binaries and planets). Variability is a telltale of the nature of the objects observed, but it also enables galactic studies (the mapping of the galactic structure), extragalactic studies (the characterization of the intracluster medium), and cosmological studies. Because of their physical and phenomenological diversity, the objects we study span a wide range of timescales and present themselves in a range of brightnesses and colors. We work to understand and maximize the potential of LSST in the exploration of the variable and transient sky, one of the 4 science drivers of LSST. LSST also holds great potential for the discovery of new transient phenomena, especially at the very short and very long time scales.

Visit the Transients and Variable Stars Science Collaboration site.

  • Chairs: Igor Andreoni, University of Maryland; Rosaria Bonito, INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo
  • DM Liaisons: Melissa Graham and Eric Belm

Strong Lensing Science Collaboration (SLSC)

Among its many applications, strong lensing can be used to trace total mass distributions of galaxies, groups, and clusters; test detailed predictions of CDM on sub-galaxy scales; constrain cosmological parameters; study high-redshift transients and host galaxies; probe accretion disk structure with microlensing; and place constraints on stellar mass functions. The SLSC considers all aspects of strong lensing science and the best means of extracting it from LSST data. 

Visit the Strong Lensing Science Collaboration site.

  • Chairs: Simon Birrer, Stonybrook University; Graham Smith, University of Birmingham
  • DM Liaison: Jim Bosch

Informatics and Statistics Science Collaboration (ISSC)

The Informatics and Statistics Science Collaboration provides a community of astro-focused data science experts for consultation/guidance, stimulates and guides new interdisciplinary research on methods/algorithms, and coordinates methodological developments across the LSST community, promoting synergy and reducing duplication of effort.

Visit the Informatics and Statistics Science Collaboration site.

  • Chair: V. Ashley Villar (Harvard University); Francois Lanusse (University of Paris and Flatiron Institute)
  • DM Liaison: Leanne Guy

LSST National Groups


Visit the LSST UK site.

  • Chairs: Bob Mann & George Beckett
  • DM Liaisons: Leanne Guy & Wil O’Mullane (management)

LSST Chile

  • DM Liaisons: Leanne Guy & Wil O’Mullane (management)

LSST France

Visit the LSST France site.

  • Chair: Emmanuel Gangler
  • DM Liaisons: Leanne Guy & Wil O’Mullane (management)

Science Collaborations Federation Charter

The SCs Federation Charter establishes mutually agreed-upon principles, rules, rights, and privileges of the SCs and the obligations of Rubin Observatory to the SCs to support their activities which benefit the entire Rubin Community. The document formalizes the SCs and their relationship to Rubin Observatory and describes rules of self-governance (i.e., independent of Rubin) and rights of the SC members.

LSST Science Collaboration Publication Policies

Each SC develops its own publication policy based on a template policy that can be used, revised, or expanded as it fits (available as a Google Doc). The first page provides details. See instructions for citing the Vera C. Rubin Observatory Science Collaboration Federation Charter. Check with your SC for additional citable documents. A non-exhaustive list includes the TVS SC Charter.