Suggest a breakout session topic for the Rubin 2021 PCW

Update (Fri Jun 18): Please post any suggestions for PCW breakout topics here by Fri Jun 25. Afterwards, emergent requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis if there’s space left in the workshop agenda. Thanks everyone for their comments so far!!

Hi all, the Science Organizing Committee welcomes suggested topics for breakout sessions during the Rubin 2021 Project and Community Workshop.

Please post your suggestions as a reply in this thread or start a New Topic in this category with the title “Suggested Breakout Session: <Your Idea Here>”. If you’re interested in chairing the session yourself, please indicate that! The SOC will be in touch.

For inspiration, take a look at the 2020 or 2019 agendas and/or consider:
What would you like to learn about Rubin Observatory and the Legacy Survey of Space and Time?
What Rubin- or LSST-related science have you been working on and would like to discuss?

The website and registration portal for the Rubin 2021 PCW will soon be available. The workshop will run Aug 9-13, be virtual, have no registration fee, and (like every year) be open to everyone. Use the bell button at upper right on this forum page in order to “watch” the Rubin 2021 PCW forum category and receive notifications about new PCW-related posts.

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I would like to propose a session dedicated to helping the SCs prepare to be recipients of in-kind contributions. Specifically, I think it would be extremely helpful to offer training for astronomers who will be participating in development projects for software (or hardware) to learn about the engineering process for defining and specifying requirements, project management and evaluating whether requirements have been met. This should be offered to everyone involved - both the SCs who will receive the contributions and the international teams who will be involved in the development.

I think the PCW is the ideal opportunity to hold such a training, leveraging the engineering expertise that Rubin already has.


Melissa, we will need a 2-hour session to present the draft recommendation for the initial survey observing strategy by the Survey Cadence Optimization Committee ( A morning slot is strongly preferred because a number of SCOC members are in Europe. If other details are needed, please send me direct email.


We as Co-Chairs of the Galaxies SC Low Surface Brightness Working Group [Sarah Brough and Aaron Watkins] and our DM representative [Lee Kelvin] would like to propose organising a breakout session on low surface brightness astronomy with LSST. This is an important regime, holding much of LSST’s discovery space, and is a key area of current research that will be uniquely expanded upon by LSST’s combination of depth and area. For instance, galaxy clusters contain vast numbers of stars in diffuse light between the galaxies, which account for a significant fraction of the cluster mass. The definitive LSST sample can capture enough of these systems to quantify the amount and spatial extent of this intra-cluster light in a more systematic fashion across, cosmic time, than ever previously possible. We will be able to characterize the stellar halos that surround nearby galaxies and unveil structures therein, such as tidal features and density inhomogeneities produced by galaxy mergers and interactions. These features, which are signposts of the hierarchical formation processes, will provide critical clues to the formation history on a galaxy-by-galaxy basis. LSST will also enable the most complete census of dwarf galaxies at cosmological distances (which dominate the galaxy number density) and of low surface or ultra-diffuse galaxies to date. As well as the study of Galactic stellar streams, diffuse extended Galactic emission, low surface brightness satellites of the Milky Way, and optical properties of Galactic cirrus or emission line regions like PNe or SN remnants.

In order to best detect and analyse the low surface brightness light in LSST images there are a number of key preparatory tasks we need to undertake due to the importance of background subtraction in preserving this light. With LSST commissioning just around the corner and much effort underway, this is the ideal time to discuss the efforts made towards these preparatory tasks and discuss strategies adopted on common problems, to ensure that we are prepared for when data arrives. With low surface brightness science already being done with precursor surveys, the session will also include presentations on recent scientific results.

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A session/discussion session on ‘Alert Generation in Year 1 Operations’ would be helpful . Given funding opportunities to support Year 1 time domain analysis and large observing telescope proposals can be applied for in the coming months to year, it would be helpful to learn about the possibilities of the alert generation in Year 1 and the operations timeline for making a decision about Year 1 templates.

I think someone from Operations/DM would be better to run this session, but I would be happy to help organize if help is needed.


A session on Cadence Notes will be helpful for SMWLV/TVS SCs. It would be useful to schedule this session after any update from the SCOC.


I’d like to propose a session on the impacts of low-Earth-orbit satellites on Rubin data products and science. In particular, the session could include discussion of what outcomes from SATCON2 will be directly relevant for Rubin during operations.

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I’d like to second @rstreet’s and @mschwamb’s suggestions for sessions on in-kind contributions and Y1 alerts. We’ve also seen DMTN-118 ( and there’s some good discussion on time-series features here: Community feedback welcomed on potential timeseries features so it seems like a good time to have an alerts-focused session that builds on the previous year’s Community Alert Broker Session.

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DM could host a Gen 3 pipeline tutorial session. We would set up a dedicated repository with a limited set of data, probably from DC2. Attendees would be shown how to write a simple pipeline that runs through the RSP, and how to load and interact with the results in a notebook. The session would be approximately 1/3 demo and 2/3 Q&A with breakout rooms for individual help and troubleshooting.

EDIT: After further discussion offline, this session sounds like it would be more appropriate for the DP0 Delegate Assemblies than for a PCW breakout session.


I would like to suggest a short session on star cluster science with LSST. Star cluster studies span a wide range of LSST science areas, from stellar astrophysics, the structure and evolution of the Milky Way and its satellites, the formation and assembly histories of nearby galaxies, the low surface brightness universe to the dark matter content of galaxies. LSST will provide the unique opportunity to study a huge sample of star clusters with a wide range of properties, from young, low mass clusters in the Solar Neighbourhood to the most massive old star clusters out to a redshift of z = 0.05 all within the same survey. Such a session would provide a chance to discuss what science LSST could do with star clusters and what challenges need to be overcome to use LSST to study star clusters.


@MelissaGraham will there be a plenary for the science collaborations? If I recall, in previous years there was a plenary where each science collaboration was given some time (I think 5-10 minutes?) to present their ongoing and recent activities: this is a great way to orient the discussion in SC-relevant breakouts later in the week and to “onboard” new members. Is such a plenary already on the slate for PCW 2021? Thanks!

cc @rstreet @sbonito


Hi @willclarkson , yes indeed – the default plan is same as last year, Wed’s plenary is reserved for the Science Collaborations. I’ll raise this again in the Sci Collab chairs’ Slack asap :+1:t2:

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I would also like to second the suggestion for a session on Y1 alerts. It would be very interesting to me to couple that session with a discussion on what efforts the community needs to undertake to secure follow-up time of those alerts at other wavelengths across the EM spectrum or joint analyses with other messengers (GWs, for example). I would be happy to help organize if needed.

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After discussing with several colleagues interested in the topic, we would propose a discussion specific on the (stellar) crowded fields. An important fraction of the variable stars is expected, for both statistical and astrophysical reasons, from the crowded environments, such as the Galactic plane (including the Bulge), the Globular Clusters, a few massive dwarf Milky Way satellites and the Magellanic Clouds. In such crowded environments, accurate photometry and state-of-art data analysis will be crucial, to extract the correct information in the fastest and most effective way. In particular, it will be crucial to adopt robust techniques to find the correct periods of the variable stars, for their affordable classification and their subsequent use as stellar tracers and distance indicators.


We (Knut Olsen, Luiz Da Costa, Wil O’Mullane, and Leanne Guy) would like to propose a session on the IDACs Coordination Group. The purpose of such a session will be to begin evaluating what users will want from the IDACs and for IDAC providers to connect to users, each other, and to Rubin. In particular:

  • Introduce community scientists to the opportunities to be provided by the IDACs
  • Hear from IDAC providers on what they see as opportunities provided by them and challenges they face
  • Present and discuss options for connecting users to IDACs in the network
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Hi all, thanks very much for your input. Now that the block agenda is posted at Schedule | Project & Community Workshop, I want to review where these suggestions ended up. Note that the current block agenda is showing shortened sessions titles in some cases (for readability).

“a session dedicated to helping the SCs prepare to be recipients of in-kind contributions” – this content will be covered in the session titled “How to Make and Receive an In-Kind Contribution” in the block agenda

“survey strategy” and “cadence notes” – there are three survey strategy related sessions. “Survey Strategy I and II” will be presentations by Rubin staff with Q&A, and “Survey Strategy III” will be a community science discussion session (see the call for contributions in this topic)

“a breakout session on low surface brightness astronomy with LSST” – this is in the block agenda as “Low Surface Brightness Astronomy with LSST”

“a session on ‘Alert Generation in Year 1 Operations’” – this will be covered by the session on “Early Science” (see the call for suggestions and contributions in this topic)

“a session on the impacts of low-Earth-orbit satellites on Rubin data products and science” – this is in the block agenda as “Rubin and Satellite Constellations”

“an alerts-focused session” – alerts and time-domain science content will be covered by the “Alert Brokers” and “Timeseries Variability Features” sessions

“data management and RSP-related content” – although a specific Gen3 tutorial will not happen in the context of the DP0, attendees might instead be interested in “DM Science Pipelines” and “Coffee with the RSP developers”

“a short session on star cluster science with LSST” – this is in the block agenda as “Star Cluster Science with LSST” (see the call for contributions in this topic)

“a discussion specific on the (stellar) crowded fields” – this is in the block agenda as “Crowded Stellar Fields”

“a session on the IDACs Coordination Group” – this is in the block agenda as “IDACs”