Arizona Astronomy Conference Provides New Inspiration for Hungarian-American Galactic and Extragalactic Research Projects

Dr. Szabó was granted an HIF Conference Support Scholarship to give him the opportunity to attend the LSST Project and Community Workshop held in Tucson, Arizona on behalf of the Konkoly Observatory in Hungary. 

Dr. Robert Szabó is a research scientist at the Konkoly Observatory at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. He recently attended a conference on developments in Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) research. LSST  will be the most important ground-based astronomical project in the next decade. One 8.4 meter telescope located in Chile will monitor the full visible sky frequently. This will be the first real (color) movie of the sky, while 20 billion stars and 20 billion galaxies will be observed.

LSST will provide enormous possibilities for early-career scientists to join a cutting-edge, world-leading research and technology project. Therefore, young Hungarian scientists should be involved in this landmark project. The support from the Hungary Initiatives Foundation was a great help to attend this workshop.

The week-long event focused on the development and progress of the LSST Project, as well as on scientific topics. LSST will be a significant player in cosmology, Galactic structure studies, transient events and Solar System objects, as well. The workshop provided ample time to familiarize with activities within LSST, discover the capabilities of the instrument, discuss observational strategies to maximize science return, and learn Big Data algorithms.

 

Dr. Szabo and the entire LSST Workshop

The conference allowed Dr. Szabó to gain insider knowledge on the future of LSST and how Hungary can more effectively contribute to this growing field. As Konkoly Observatory is a member of the LSST Consortium, Dr. Szabó also gave a brief presentation detailing Hungarian contributions to LSST research.                                          

 

This year I had first-hand experience with the project status, the technical difficulties and their solutions, the planned survey strategies, and the expected scientific results. Besides that, I heard important details about the challenges presented by the data handling and management, and the developed algorithm to utilize the huge amount of LSST data. Therefore, my presence was pivotal to have a chance to discuss the possibilities with team members and engineers.

Dr. Szabó is extremely optimistic for the future of LSST and the opportunities it affords for the advancement of Hungarian astronomy.

My experience and expertise gained at the LSST workshop this August will help me draw a bold research plan that exploits future LSST data. It is evident that Hungarian astronomy should be deeply embedded in this project. Our participation and continuation should be a prime and strategic goal toward which I’ll work as a deputy director of the Konkoly Observatory and supervisor of many students.

Dr. Róbert Szabó