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Gemini e-Newscast #107

May 10, 2018

In This e-Newscast:

Hawai‘i Volcano and Weather Updates

Thank you for all of the messages of concern regarding the recent volcanic and seismic activity on Hawai‘i Island. On Friday, May 4th, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck as part of the volcanic activity impacting the Puna district of the Big Island. While there was no apparent damage to the Gemini North telescope, or the base facility, several staff are directly impacted by evacuations of their homes due to the volcano and toxic gases being released. We extend our sympathies for those who have lost their homes or have been displaced due to the volcano.

On the weather front, the past few months have not been kind to astronomy in Hawai‘i. What follows is a message sent to all of this semester’s PIs:

Maunakea has been experiencing unusually poor weather this semester and so far we have lost almost 75% of the time.  Even in late April, there was snow and ice at the summit. This is why there may have been little or no progress on your program.

If you wish to make any changes to your observing strategy, revise condition constraints, or update timing windows, please email your contact scientists and they will be happy to assist you. Anything you can do to make it easier to schedule and execute your program will help.

If you are curious, you can access Maunakea weather info through the following websites:

Massive Cluster Galaxies Move in Unexpected Ways

Astronomers using data from both of the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrographs (GMOS - North and South) measured the motions of stars within a sample of 32 massive elliptical cluster galaxies and found the stellar motions inconsistent with these galaxies’ solitary cousins. For more see the Web Feature
MS0440+02 galaxy cluster. The central galaxy is a multi-component BCG formed by six bright elliptical spheroids, all at the same redshift. This is a color composite GMOS South image (g, r, i) of the clusters. The size of the image is 2.6 x 2.6 arcmin2 (N up, E left). Credit: R. Carrasco (Gemini Observatory/AURA) and Tomás Verdugo (UNAM).

Science and Evolution of Gemini Abstract Deadline Looms

The abstract deadline of May 15th for this July’s Science and Evolution of Gemini 2018 Conference is right around the corner. Submit your abstract now and join us in reviewing recent science highlights, identifying needs in the context of Gemini’s evolving capabilities, and developing strategies for the future. In addition to the workshops listed below, there will be topical sessions covering many different Gemini science results as well as special sessions on high resolution spectroscopy, Gemini Planet Imager science and possible upgrades, instrument development, future instruments, potential visitor instruments, the balance of Gemini proposal modes, and LSST follow-up.
Workshops are a key element of this meeting and we encourage everyone to participate but space is limited! Register here.
Speed collaboration involves one-on-one, low-pressure, 5-minute conversations that follow a structure carefully designed to help you figure out your overlapping areas of interest and expertise on a rapid timescale.
"Under the Hood" is an optional lunchtime session where Large and Long Program PIs will share some of the more practical aspects (from observing preparation to data reduction) that made them successful.
Data Reduction Workshop -  Introduction to GMOS IFU data reduction: How to get the data, standard reduction, and a few essential tips and tricks.

Learn About Future Visiting Instruments at the Science and Evolution of Gemini Meeting!

In addition to all of the exciting talks and workshops at the meeting, a session exploring some of the new proposals for Visiting Instruments at Gemini is planned. Join us to learn what capabilities we might have in the next decade. This is a great opportunity to interact with the instrument teams, let them know how you would like to use these instruments, and tell us if there are additional capabilities you would like to see.

AstroDay Hawai‘i 2018

Staff from all the Maunakea Observatories, including over a dozen Gemini staff, joined in the fun at Hilo’s Prince Kuhio Mall on Saturday, May 5th for AstroDay. AstroDay is an annual event that encourages awareness and interest in astronomy through activities and demonstrations by staff at all of the Maunakea observatories and beyond. At Gemini’s booth, families visited our StarLab Portable Planetarium, modeled the expanding Universe with balloons and markers, sorted galaxies, and colored the twin mascots of our twin telescopes, Kea and Pachón!

Kūkākūkā - Maunakea Science Support Staff Gather at Gemini North

Maunakea is one of the best places in the world for astronomy, and the island of Hawai‘i is a beautiful place to live and work. In addition to all of this, the number of Hawaii’s diverse, world class telescopes means that scientists, engineers and other staff can easily come together and collaborate on a wide variety of science and operational topics. Last week, at a meeting of the Maunakea Science Support Group held at Gemini North, 30 telescope staff members from several large Island telescopes spent an afternoon learning from one another. The discussions ranged from an assortment of science topics to discussions on issues that impact all observatories, regardless of size or wavelength. In this end it was a wonderful opportunity for all participants to learn from each other with best practices and bits of collective wisdom!

Search for Testers of the New Gemini Website

The Observatory's website is about to become more user-centric! Guided by usability and recent research, we are creating an updated site that will organize the information with a more natural flow, giving users easier access to the information you need.

However, the success of the future Gemini website depends on your help. We will soon finish the creation of a prototype that needs to be tested. Whether it is because you want to have a first peak at it, because you would like to share your vision, or because you like to help by nature, please send us your coordinates through this registration form.

Once the prototype is ready, we will invite those who register to test it with us through a short remote workshop.

Thanks in advance!
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