Gemini Science Meeting
very successful Gemini Science 2004 Meeting was held in
Following the three days of science results a ½ day ‘users’ meeting was held. This session had presentations on various operational aspects of Gemini (e.g., “De-mystifying the Queue”) and updates on new and “soon to arrive” instruments such as GNIRS and NIFS. The question of queue versus classical scheduling generated a lot of debate with the general consensus that while Gemini’s queue process can be improved it is working quite well.
Aspen Process – New Gemini Instrumentation
late 2001 the Gemini Board initiated the so-called “
final version of the Aspen Report entitled: “Scientific Horizons at the Gemini
Observatory: Exploring a Universe of Matter, Energy and Life” is available from
the Gemini website: (http://www.gemini.edu/project/announcements/press/aspen_report/aspen_report.pdf).
If you would prefer a hardcopy version of the
December 2003 Gemini issued several Requests for Proposals related to the new
instrumentation. These included design studies for and Extreme Adaptive Optics
Coronagraph (ExAOC) and a High Resolution Near-Infrared Spectrograph (HRNIRS).
In addition, the Gemini requested proposals for feasibility studies for a Wide
Field Fiber Fed Optical Multi-object Spectrometer (WFMOS) and a Ground Layer
Adaptive Optics System (GLAO).
Contracts for these studies have been issued and the teams are hard at work to finish their design/feasibility studies in early 2005. These studies will be reviewed and recommendations forwarded to the Gemini Science Committee and Gemini Board in April/May 2005. The Board will make the final decision
Other Gemini News
released a Call for Proposals for Semester 2005A at the beginning of September.
Details can be found at http://www.gemini.edu/sciops/ObsProcess/ObsProcIndex.html.
the initial cooldown of the NIFS science grade HAWAII-2 detector, it failed
to readout in the final stages of reaching its operating temperature. Upon opening
this event Gemini has been working closely with Rockwell Scientific and ANU
to devise a recovery plan. An engineering grade HAWAII-2 detector is being shipped
this week to ANU, which we expect will allow ANU to complete most of its planned
final integration tasks with NIFS. Gemini is also assessing options for replacing
the science grade detector as quickly as possible. While the loss of the NIFS
science grade detector obviously poses a major setback, thanks to the hard work
of the NIFS team in
Hokupa'a-85 has completed its first commissioning run on Gemini South Hokupa'a-85 was successfully coupled with theABU science camera several days before the run and, despite concerns about the intrinsic image quality of ABU being a limiting factor in the system's performance, the intrinsic image quality of ABU's optics are in fact quite good.
seeing was poor (~1.0 -1.5") during the first night of the run, Hokupa'a-85
successfully locked onto a bright star immediately. However, soon thereafter
many of the actuators in its deformable mirror (DM) failed, leaving Hokupa'a-85
unable to close its AO loop. The next ~1.5 nights were used to commission other
aspects of the system (telescope + Hokupa'a-85 + ABU) that did not require the
AO loop, while a back-up DM was sent from
When the back-up DM arrived it was integrated into Hokupa'a-85, leaving effectively only the last 2 nights of the planned run for additional commissioning. Required interfaces between Hokupa’a-85, ABU, and the telescope were all tested and worked. Hokupa’a-85 loop operation, ABU exposure control, and telescope dithering all worked under automated control to provide properly sequenced observations. The WFS control field was confirmed to exceed 30 arcsec and closed loop control was demonstrated on a R = 15.8 mag star.
Gemini has decided to not offer Hokupa'a-85 in the general 2005A Call for Proposals. Instead Gemini will complete the commissioning of this instrument during the planned December 2004 run, then (assuming all goes well) release the instrument in 2005A through a special call for demo-science proposals to the Community.