NSF Vera C. Rubin Observatory

Vera Rubin operated the No. 1 36-inch telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Kent Ford's Image tube spectrograph is attached to the telescope. NOAO/AURA/NSF

We are pleased to announce that the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which will conduct a vast astronomical survey for unprecedented discovery of the deep and dynamic universe beginning in 2022, will now be named the NSF Vera C. Rubin Observatory (Rubin Observatory or VRO). This new name honors Vera Rubin, a brilliant astronomer and a champion for women in science.

Vera Rubin, who passed away in 2016, spent her career making extraordinary contributions to the field of astronomy. Among other notable advances, her work confirmed the existence of dark matter after Swiss astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky first proposed it in 1933. Dark matter emits no light and therefore can't be observed directly, but it makes up more than 90% of the mass of the Universe. Understanding the nature of dark matter is one of the main science topics that drove the design of survey that will be conducted at the Rubin Observatory. By mapping galaxies through time and space, cataloging their masses, and studying their influence on the distortion of space-time we will gain new insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy. 

In addition to her remarkable contributions to astronomy, Vera Rubin was a mentor and advocate for women as astronomers and scientists. She worked throughout her career to encourage young women in the profession. Naming this observatory in her honor underscores the Rubin Observatory's commitment to inclusivity and diversity.

Rubin Observatory Promotional Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9UzJ29bNII

Annoucement at AAS 235 (2020 Winter Meeting): Video Link

Link to press release: https://www.lsst.org/news/vro-press-release