Vera C. Rubin Observatory is a ground-based astronomical facility under construction, a joint project of the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, designed to conduct a multi-purpose 10-year optical survey of the southern hemisphere sky: the Legacy Survey of Space and Time. Significant flexibility in survey strategy remains within the constraints imposed by the core science goals of probing dark energy and dark matter, cataloging the Solar System, exploring the transient optical sky, and mapping the Milky Way. The survey’s massive data throughput will be transformational for many other astrophysics domains and Rubin’s data access policy sets the stage for a huge potential users’ community. To ensure that the survey science potential is maximized while serving as broad a community as possible, Rubin Observatory has involved the scientific community at large in the process of setting and refining the details of the observing strategy. The motivation, history, and decision-making process of this strategy optimization are detailed in this paper, giving context to the science-driven proposals and recommendations for the survey strategy included in this Focus Issue.
Optimization of the Observing Cadence for the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time: a pioneering process of community-focused experimental design, Federica B. Bianco, Željko Ivezić, R. Lynne Jones, Melissa L. Graham, Phil Marshall, Abhijit Saha, Michael A. Strauss, Peter Yoachim, Tiago Ribeiro, Timo Anguita, Franz E. Bauer, Eric C. Bellm, Robert D. Blum, William N. Brandt, Sarah Brough, Màrcio Catelan, William I. Clarkson, Andrew J. Connolly, Eric Gawiser, John Gizis, Renee Hlozek, Sugata Kaviraj, Charles T. Liu, Michelle Lochner, Ashish A. Mahabal, Rachel Mandelbaum, Peregrine McGehee, Eric H. Neilsen Jr., Knut A. G. Olsen, Hiranya Peiris, Jason Rhodes, Gordon T. Richards, Stephen Ridgway, Megan E. Schwamb, Dan Scolnic, Ohad Shemmer, Colin T. Slater, Anže Slosar, Stephen J. Smartt, Jay Strader, Rachel Street, David E. Trilling, Aprajita Verma, A. K. Vivas, Risa H. Wechsler, Beth Willman, Submitted as the opening paper of the Astrophysical Journal Focus Issue on Rubin LSST cadence and survey strategy, arXiv:2108.01683