Press Release

Las Cumbres Observatory and LSSTC Present Awards in the TOM Community Development Program

By SpaceRef Editor
December 18, 2019
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The workshop provided an interactive introduction to Target and Observation Management (TOM) systems and specifically the TOM Toolkit software package developed by software engineers at Las Cumbres Observatory. The TOM Toolkit makes it easy for astronomers to build these powerful systems to support their research. Fifty scientists from all areas of astronomy, representing fourteen nations, participated in the workshop. 

The workshop participants were invited to submit proposals for observing time and seed funding to the TOM Community Development Program. The program provides resources to teams who will develop observational follow-up programs using Target and Observation Manager systems, providing the opportunity to prepare for conducting science with LSST alerts and data products. Funding for the program was provided by generous grants from the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Zegar Family Foundation. In addition to financial support, hours of observing time have been donated by members of the Astronomical Event Observatory Network (AEON): Las Cumbres Observatory, the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) Telescope, and Gemini Observatory.

Directors of the workshop received 33 proposals and selected 15 of those for awards. The selected projects cover a wide range of topics in time-domain astronomy, from LIGO alert follow-ups to microlensing and supernova discoveries. The complete list of funded projects can be found at Las Cumbres and LSSTC are looking forward to seeing how astronomers make use of the Toolkit to enable their research.

The TOM workshop has successfully engaged the astronomical community in advancing ideas for handling the millions of alerts that will be generated by the LSST when it comes online in 2023. Software generated from the TOM Community Development projects will be particularly helpful as researchers prepare for the coming data-rich era of astronomy. 

About Las Cumbres Observatory:
Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO, is a nonprofit corporation based in Goleta, California, dedicated to advancing worldwide understanding of the universe through science with its global network of full robotic optical telescopes. Las Cumbres Observatory began its mission in 2005 and has been operating a global network continuously since May of 2014. The network currently consists of twenty-three telescopes, located at seven sites of high astronomical quality, which together serve as a single integrated observatory. The observatory is leading the future of time domain astronomy with observations that capitalize on the network’s unique capabilities.

About The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Corporation:
The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Corporation (LSSTC, is a consortium of 35 institutions, including six from outside the US. A not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation based in Arizona, LSSTC was established in 2003 to initiate the development of the LSST Project and to advance the science of astronomy and physics. Through its stewardship of financial support from its member institutions as well as private contributions from individual donors, foundations, and corporations, LSSTC funded the fabrication of the primary/tertiary mirror, facilitated early site preparation, and seeded the design and early science planning for LSST. Its current mission is to maximize the scientific output and societal impact of LSST.

SpaceRef staff editor.