Transients and Variable Star Collaboration

The LSST Transients and Variable Stars Collaboration focuses on the transient sky, including a large and diverse range of phenomena: variable events, periodic or not, explosive and eruptive transients, and geometric transients (e.g. eclipsing binaries and planets). Variability is a tell tale of the nature of the objects observed, but it also enables galactic studies (the mapping of the galactic structure), extragalactic studies (the characterization of the intracluster medium), and cosmological studies. Because of their physical and phenomenological diversity, the object we study span a wide range of timescales and present themselves in a range of brightnesses and colors. We work to understand and maximize the potential of LSST in the exploration of the variable and transient sky, one of the 4 science drivers of LSST. LSST also holds great potential for discovery of new transient phenomena, especially at the very short and very long time scales.


Our collaboration is organized in 15 groups with common expertise and interests, that are delineating a roadmap to maximize the potential of the LSST survey in the discovery and characterization of the transient sky.

active subgroups

Fast Transients

primary contacts:
Maria Drout, Carnegie-Dunlap

Interacting Binaries

primary contacts:
Andrej Prsa, Villanova
Paula Szkody, UW

Magnetically Active Stars

primary contacts:
Ricky Egeland, High Altitude Observatory

Microlensing Subgroup

primary contacts:
Rachel Street, LCO
Rosanne DiStefano, CfA

Multiwavelength Characterization and Counterparts

primary contacts:
Raffaella Margutti, NorthWestern

Non-degenerate Eruptive Variables

primary contacts:
Sara Bonito, INAF

Pulsating Variables

primary contacts:
Kelly Hambleton, Villanova


primary contacts:
Melissa Graham, UW

Tidal Disruption Events

primary contacts:
Iair Arcavi, LCO

Transiting Planets

primary contacts:
Michael Lund, Vanderbilt

currently inactive subgroups

Distance Scale

Task Forces

Task Forces

2019 proposed TVS task forces


Metrics (MAFs) were not generally available with the submitted TVS white papers and without them the cadences cannot be evaluated. This means the requested cadences may actually not be simulated, unless a MAF is provided or easily generated by the project members. This TF should

1 - Learn the MAF

2 - Review the TVS White Paper submissions for cadence proposals

3 - Design and code MAFs for all TVS submissions

4 - Create TVS specific (video) tutorials for MAF

Science Platform Evaluation Through "Stack Club" involvement TF

Members will get involved in the LSST “stack club” and this gain access to the LSST Science Platform. This TF should:

1 - Gain familiarity with the LSST Science Platform and share it with the rest of TVS,

2 - Understand what TVS users need from the Science Platform and evaluate whether the current design will provide it.

3 - Report on Stack Club by a member of the club (possibly also member of TVS)

Deep and accurate PSF photometry in crowded fields, and search for variable stars TF

This TF will follow the success of the deblending TF that analyzed DECAM very crowded fields with DAOPhot with the aim to refine parameters in the LSST Stack to optimize crowded field photometry for variable stars and stacks. This TF should:

1 - Perform a full test of the DECam Bulge dataset (2013A-0721) with Scarlet

2 - Publish the results of our tests in a refereed paper

3 - Publish any scientific result which could arise from our analysis.

Commissioning TF

The LSST commissioning is planned to start in a year and LSST Project has solicited the involvement of the SCs. This TF should:

1 - Design potential on-sky observations which could be done during the commissioning phase in order to test the feasibility of our science cases within TVS.

2 - Define minimum requirements useful for the proposed (respective) science cases.

3 - Maybe even design tools/metrics to test feasibility.

2018 TVS task forces



LSST TVS+SMWLV joint conference

Conference + Unconference-Hackathon::October 2019, Location: University of Delaware

LSST Supernovae across the Science Collaborations joint conference

Conference + Unconference-Hackathon::Early 2020, Location: University of Illinois


LSST TVS Survey Strategy Proposal Preparation Workshop

Conference: June 4-5, Unconference-Hackathon: June 6-8 2018

LSST TVS workshop 2018

Naples April 9-11, 2018

LSST INAF Cadence Proposals workshop

Palermo October 8-10, 2018

LSST CCA Cadence Proposals hackathon

Palermo, 2018


Contact us for more information
a message will be sent to the co-chairs Rachel Street and Federica Bianco