Supermassive Black Hole Studies with the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST)

       A Meeting-in-a-Meeting (MiM) as part of the 236th Meeting of the AAS

June 1-3, 2020


The Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), to be conducted at the Vera Rubin Observatory beginning in 2023, will enable studies of the growing supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) on a truly massive scale. The tens of millions of AGNs discovered will be used for powerful studies of, e.g., the AGN luminosity function, AGN growth across varied cosmic environments, the highest redshift AGNs, AGN variability of many types, and transient SMBH fueling events. The LSST AGN Science Collaboration, currently composed of about 50 members spanning the globe, will lead many investigations of AGNs with LSST and supporting multiwavelength data. The time to prepare for AGN science with the petabyte deluge of LSST data is now, and this Meeting-in-a-Meeting (MiM) aims to stimulate such preparation.

Specifically, this MiM has the following main goals: (1) Provide outreach to the broad AAS membership, so that additional astronomers with interest can learn about the AGN science opportunities with LSST and consider joining the AGN Science Collaboration; (2) Allow in-depth presentation and critical discussion of exciting planned LSST and related AGN science projects; (3) Enable practical planning, coordination, and resource preparation so that these science projects can be executed successfully; and (4) Allow discussion and assessment of the currently evolving LSST observing strategy (e.g., cadence, total depth, footprints), so that key feedback can be provided to the LSST Project.

The MiM program will include 16 talks, each of 30 min duration including time for questions/discussion. The program will begin with a brief review of the LSST Science Collaborations and the LSST AGN Science Collaboration, including its ongoing activities and future plans. This will be followed by talks on AGN selection and characterization using LSST and supporting data, including the science that will be performed with the massive resulting AGN samples. There will then be talks on AGN variability studies using LSST data, including general variability characterization, transient SMBH phenomena, reverberation mapping, and changing-look AGNs. A forward-looking summary, discussion session, and potential hack session will conclude the MiM. In addition to the official allocated sessions, we aim to have several group lunches during the AAS meeting that will enable further discussions and planning.

The MiM schedule is available.

For questions or additional information, please email W. Niel Brandt (

Video recordings of the six MiM sessions are available on YouTube...

   Session 1:
   Session 2:
   Session 3:
   Session 4:
   Session 5:
   Session 6:

Slides for all the talks can be downloaded at



LSST AGN Science Collaboration Session at the LSST 2018 Project and Community Workshop

Thursday, August 16, 2018, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM; Joshua Tree Room (El Conquistador Hilton Resort)

LSST will enable studies of the growing supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) on a truly massive scale - LSST plus multiwavelength data should allow the selection of tens of millions of AGNs. LSST will also provide unmatched source statistics on transient SMBH phenomena including stellar tidal disruptions, strong gravitational microlensing events, blazar flares, changing-look sources, and accretion-disk instabilities. This session covered some of these science prospects and promoted planning for them with connections to the AGN Science Collaboration, the Galaxies Science Collaboration, the Transients Science Collaboration, Informatics and Statistics, and the Project. The session organizers were W.N. Brandt (Chair), Franz Bauer, Gordon Richards, and Michael Strauss.

Meeting Program

Welcome, Overview, and Activities of the AGN SC
W.N. Brandt, Penn State University
AGN Selection Opportunities and Challenges with the LSST
Jan-Torge Schindler, University of Arizona
Sophie Reed, Princeton University
Timo Anguita, Universidad Andres Bello

Session Audio

Photo of Session Attendees




LSST AGN Science Collaboration Roadmap Development Meeting

An Open Splinter Meeting as part of the

229th AAS Meeting, Grapevine, TX

Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM; Appaloosa 2 (Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center)

The goals of the meeting are to: 1) start the development of a comprehensive Roadmap for the Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) Science Collaboration of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), presenting a coherent vision for AGN research pre- and post-LSST commissioning, 2) form dedicated Working Groups within the Science Collaboration who will work on specific projects described by the Roadmap, 3) explore funding opportunities to support the highest-ranked projects described by the Roadmap, and 4) encourage eligible active extragalactic researchers to join the AGN Science Collaboration.

Organizing Committee:

Ohad Shemmer (University of North Texas);
Niel Brandt (The Pennsylvania State University);
Gordon Richards (Drexel University);

Organizing committee members may be contacted with any questions.

Meeting Program


Session 1: 9:00 - 10:30

Chair: Ohad Shemmer, University of North Texas

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Ohad Shemmer, University of North Texas
Description of AGN Science Collaboration Activities and Goals
Niel Brandt, The Pennsylvania State University
Gordon Richards, Drexel University
Carole Mundell, University of Bath

Chelsea MacLeod, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Coffee Break: 10:30 - 11:00  Group Photo

Session 2: 11:00 - 12:30

Chair: Niel Brandt, The Pennsylvania State University

Roberto Assef, Universidad Diego Portales
Christina Peters, University of Toronto

Vishal Kasliwal, University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University
Paula Sanchez, Universidad de Chile
Yan-Fei Jiang, University of California, Santa Barbara

Lunch Break: 12:30 - 1:30

Session 3: 1:30 - 3:00

Chair: Ohad Shemmer, University of North Texas

Discussion and Ranking of AGN Science Collaboration Tasks and
Priorities, Forming Working Groups, and Setting a Timeline for Roadmap
White Paper Posting

Coffee Break: 3:00 - 3:30

Session 4: 3:30 - 6:00

Chair: Gordon Richards, Drexel University

Writing Roadmap White Paper Skeleton

This meeting is kindly supported by the LSST Corporation