Exploring the Universe with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory

Sep 08, 2020 - 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Online — Zoom (meeting ID 992 1875 1554, password 094305) and YouTube

Dr. Phil Marshall (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

Exploring the Universe with the Vera C. Rubin Observatory

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, currently under construction on Cerro Pachon, Chile, houses a single giant telescope that will image the night sky faster and in greater depth than ever before. Its camera, at 3.6 Gigapixels, will be the biggest digital camera ever built. The VRO will be able to image the entire visible sky every few nights, and build up, over 10 years, a 900-frame full color movie of the deep night sky. This "Legacy Survey of Space and Time" will enable a wide variety of scientific explorations, from the outer reaches of our Solar System, through our Milky Way Galaxy and its dark matter halo, and out into the extragalactic universe, where we hope to see colliding black holes, new types of cosmic explosions, and the weird effects of the mysterious Dark Energy. In this, Dr Marshall will give a guided tour of the Rubin Observatory, describe the sky survey we are planning with it, and show how we can all take part in its voyage of discovery.

Dr. Phil MarshallDr Phil Marshall is the Deputy Director of Operations for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory's Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). As an observational cosmologist, his research uses gravitational lensing, the deflection of light as it passes by massive objects, to weigh galaxies and measure the expansion of the Universe. The LSST presents astronomers with a new scale of Big Data problems, the solutions to which will necessarily involve either innovations in automated processing, or large numbers of people. Phil is working with a team of scientists, postdocs and students to set up the Rubin Observatory to successfully deliver the data that will be needed to learn about cosmology and dark energy. He helped form the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC) in 2012 and has been involved in its leadership ever since.

Phil received his PhD from the University of Cambridge, where he first got interested in the process of measuring astronomical objects, including things like dark matter halos which we may not be able to observe directly. He first moved to Stanford in 2003 as one of the first postdoctoral researchers after the foundation of KIPAC. After three years at the University of California, Santa Barbara, three years back at Stanford as a Kavli Fellow, and three years as a Royal Society University Research Fellow in Oxford, UK, Phil came back to the Bay Area to join the SLAC Staff on a permanent basis in 2013.