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Gemini e-Newscast August 2020

In This e-Newscast:

Gemini Observatory’s Quick Reflexes Capture Fleeting Flash

Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/K. Paterson & W. Fong (Northwestern University)
Image processing: Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), Mahdi Zamani & Davide de Martin
Rapid follow-up of the optical afterglow from one of the most distant confirmed short gamma-ray bursts (SGRB) is casting new light on these enigmatic objects. The observations, made by the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, confirmed the object’s distance and placed it squarely in the epoch of cosmic high noon. This is the most distant high-confidence SGRB with an optical afterglow detection. Read the full press release here.

COVID-19 Update and 2021A Call for Proposals

As COVID-19 cases are still limited in number on the island of Hawai‘i, Gemini North has continued its nighttime operations into Semester 2020B. Gemini South and the other NOIRLab facilities have remained closed because of the continued pandemic. We are preparing the 2021A Call for Proposals (CfP), and expect to offer time at both Gemini telescopes; however the various National TACs may adopt different policies with respect to programs affected by the time lost to closure. More details on this will be provided in the CfP, scheduled for the end of August as usual. Additional details on the response of operations to COVID-19 are available in the Science Community FAQ linked to on the Gemini home page.

August Fast Turnaround Call for Gemini North

Are you planning to submit a proposal for 2021A, but realizing your targets are visible now? Then Fast Turnaround (FT) is here for you! We are currently accepting FT proposals for Gemini North, and the next deadline is at 23:59 Hawaii Standard Time on August 31, 2020. The FT program has been used to conduct pilot studies, complete the observations for existing data sets, follow up newly discovered objects, and much more. Proposing teams are notified of the decisions typically within a few weeks of the deadline, and data for successful programs can be obtained as early as a week or two after that; FT programs remain in the Queue for up to 3 months. For details, please see: http://www.gemini.edu/observing/phase-i/ft/ft-cfp

The monthly FT Call at Gemini South remains on hold until sometime after the restart of science operations in Chile. Updates will be provided on the FT News page.

GOGREEN Data Release Workshop Aug 24-25

The Gemini Observations of Galaxies in Rich Early ENvironments (GOGREEN) Survey team will hold a virtual workshop, hosted by the Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics, to present their science results and first public Data Release. The public portion of the meeting will be 10am-2pm EDT on Monday Aug 24, and 10am-12pm EDT on Tuesday Aug 25. To be included on future emails, and to receive the password-protected Zoom link on August 21, please register here. There is no registration fee.

In addition to a description of the data, the meeting will provide an overview of published and forthcoming science results from the survey. More information about the survey can be found at http://gogreensurvey.ca.

DRAGONS Imaging Verification

The first public release of Gemini’s new Python-based data reduction platform, DRAGONS (Data R eduction for Astronomy from Gemini Observatory North and South), occurred late in 2019 and supports imaging for current facility instruments. Comparisons with Gemini IRAF (for GMOS, FLAMINGOS-2, NIRI, and GSAOI) demonstrate similar photometric accuracy and how to manage differing default parameters. Questions? Submit a helpdesk ticket with the topic DRAGONS.

What's Shaking at Gemini North?

As travel restrictions remain in place for Hawai‘i and many other locations, it is not possible for our Visiting Instrument teams to come out to Gemini North to work with staff in person. We are making the best of the situation by using videoconferencing and virtual networking protocols to allow the instrument teams to make observations remotely. In this way, the teams can make observations for the community with visiting instruments such as the speckle imager ‘Alopeke and the new high-dispersion spectrograph MAROON-X. There are a number of exciting results from the recent observing runs, so watch this e-publication for the latest news.

Additionally, Gemini’s science and engineering staff have been working with the 'Alopeke team to assist with vibration studies in preparation for the Gemini North Adaptive Optics (GNAO) system, currently in development. Because GNAO will be very sensitive, they are working to characterize and mitigate any vibrations that may be affecting the telescope in order to get the most out of this future cutting-edge capability. This type of engineering collaboration is just one of the many reasons we are grateful to work with our innovative and dedicated Visiting Instrument teams!
Archive photo of the ‘Alopeke team working with engineers at Gemini North in 2017.  Credit: A. Peck
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