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Gemini e-Newscast #87

September 15, 2016

In This e-Newscast:

A “Failed” Milky Way that is 99.99% Dark Matter 

Astronomers have discovered a massive galaxy that is almost entirely dark matter. The galaxy, called Dragonfly 44, has very low surface brightness and was only discovered in 2014. New observations using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on Gemini North and the Keck II telescope (also on Maunakea) reveal the physical properties of the galaxy. They show that it is like a “failed” Milky Way, in having similar total mass, size, and population of globular clusters, lacking only the stars. Considering the entire galaxy, Pieter van Dokkum (Yale University) and collaborators estimate that 99.99% of the massive (1012 MSun) galaxy is dark matter. The Gemini press release has more information, including links to high-resolution images from this Fast Turnaround program, and full results are published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Credit: Pieter van Dokkum, Roberto Abraham, Gemini Observatory/AURA.
The galaxy Dragonfly 44, observed using GMOS-North, in wide field (left) and close-up (right) views. Dragonfly 44 is very faint for its mass and consists almost entirely of dark matter.

The 2017A Call for Proposals Is Open

Complete information about proposing is posted on the Gemini website. Deadlines vary with partner and are as early as September 30, so check with your National Gemini Office for your country’s deadline.

Gemini Instrument Upgrade Projects: Request for Proposals Coming Soon

Gemini seeks community participation to make science-driven upgrades to existing facility instruments. This year we will seek to support both small (~$100K) and medium (~$500K) scale projects. General information about this regular program is available at the Gemini website. We will release the next Request for Proposals (RfP) by the end of October 2016, to be open through the end of the year. Stay tuned and plan to submit your good ideas! The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 

New GMOS Observation Planning Guide

A new observation planning guide is now available for GMOS from the US National Gemini Office. It is linked from Gemini’s GMOS Observation Preparation webpage (final bullet).  This is a “living document” designed to help with both proposal and observation preparations.  Questions regarding proposal preparation can be submitted through the Gemini Helpdesk (PIT/Phase I category).

Shutdowns Complete at Both North and South

(Right) Shutter drive box being moved at Gemini North in Hawai‘i. (Left) Acquisition and Guiding flexure rig testing during the recent shutdown at Gemini South in Chile.
Senior Electronics Technician Alejandro Gutiérrez and Electronics Engineer Hector Swett work on the Acquisition and Guiding Unit during the recent shutdown at Gemini South at Chile.
Parallel shutdowns at Gemini North and South are now complete, and both telescopes are back on sky and routine operations have resumed. In Chile, shutdown staff tackled a long-standing noisy detector problem with the GMOS On-Instrument Wavefront Sensor. This successful repair has resulted in significant performance improvements which is demonstrated almost every night. In Hawai‘i, the team’s primary work focused on replacing the bottom shutter “XY” drivebox (with an existing spare). The shutdown provided an idea time to complete maintenance of the Acquisition and Guiding (A&G) system, GMOS-North, and NIRI. The Gemini North shutdown was originally planned for October, but was moved forward due to failure of the drivebox.

Gemini North Staff Participate in Women’s Leadership Forum

Gemini Observatory is committed to gender equity in our workforce, supporting opportunities for staff development and effectively supporting our scientific mission.  On August 26th, several female staff members representative of a broad spectrum of departments attended the 2nd Annual Hawai’i Island Women’s Leadership Forum held in Waikoloa.  They joined more than 300 other women for an event filled day focused on tools for excellence in self, relationships, career and community.  The event kicked off and ended with a dynamic and inspiring keynote speaker followed by four workshops featuring an array of topics to select from such as Power of Health-Power of You, Conscious Communication: How to Engage in Thoughtful Expression and Active Listening.  Improve Your Leadership, Uncover your Why to Business, Life and Yourself and even a scientific workshop Go Beyond the Stars:  Women in Science and Engineering.  Gemini also participated in the vendor exhibit with a booth promoting educational and career opportunities in astronomy.  Those in attendance are in consensus to the enriched and rewarding experience both personally and professionally and are highly appreciative of Gemini’s commitment to diversity in the workplace.
Gemini staff; Sabrina Pakzad, Angleic Ebbers, and Beverley Lidyoff (left to right) enjoy a moment during the Women’s Leadership Forum recently attended by seven female employees from Gemini North.
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