Lasair selected as Community Broker
The Rubin Observatory announced on Tuesday 27th July that the UK’s Lasair project has been selected as an official LSST community alert broker and will receive the full Rubin alert stream. Every image that Rubin takes will have a reference sky subtracted and every object that is variable or transient, or moving, will be catalogued and released in a stream of alerts within 60 seconds.
The University of Edinburgh and Queen’s University Belfast have been partnering, with STFC Phase B funding, to build a broker that will provide a user friendly and scientifically powerful platform for world-wide users to exploit this information reach data stream. We expect Rubin’s data stream to have a peak production rate of 1 terabyte per night in just the alert data, a data rate that would overwhelm the average science user trying to feed off the complete transient stream. For every visit (i.e. approximately every minute) there will be about 30,000 alerts.
Lasair will take the full Rubin alert stream and add scientific value to the data stream, providing computing power, tools and storage for science users to manage selection of objects from the stream. We will manage a large database store of all objets and provide SQL, API and python notebook query functionality. Our added value will be cross-matching to multi-wavelength catalogues, classification, and provision of realtime spectroscopic redshifts and spectral types from the 4MOST and SOXS surveys, photometric redshifts from major catalogues and Rubin itself and a basic lightcurve classifications. We have built the prototype and have had multiple reviews and workshops with the user community in the UK and Europe to shape the design, most recently at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting 2021 hosted by the University of Bath.
We welcome user input and feedback at any time. You can read more on the new concept of streaming data in comparison to database queries, which is core to our vision for science functionality for the LSST data stream by signing up to the LSST:UK Newsletter (see Roy Williams' piece in the July newsletter). While our Lasair prototype works on ZTF data and is being scientifically exploited by a range of users, we now look forward to developing the Lasair system for LSST data rates.