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Gemini e-Newscast #77

November 16, 2015

In This e-Newscast:

Discovery of a z~6 Quasar, from New Limited Gemini Partner Korea

The discovery of a faint quasar at redshift z~6 helps to constrain the role of such objects as the sources of reionization in the early Universe, suggesting that they did not contribute significantly. Data from GMOS-South confirm the redshift and identity spectroscopically of the discovery which also included data from the Canada-France-Hawai‘i and United Kingdom Infrared telescopes on Maunakea. This single source and six additional candidates from the same survey are consistent with limited contributions to reionization from the faint end of the quasar luminosity function. This is the first Korean publication as part of the Gemini partnership, and was led by Principal Investigator Myungshin Im and lead author Yongjung Kim (both Seoul National University) with collaborators. The English version of a Korean press release is posted at the Gemini website; a preprint and the publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters present the full results.  
Spectrum from GMOS on Gemini South confirms the identification of a newly-discovered z~6 quasar.

Use the New Gemini Observatory Archive!

The new Gemini Observatory Archive is ready and will soon be the primary site for retrieving archival and proprietary Gemini data. You can use it now! The web interface is straightforward, and comments by early users are positive, so visit the help page for more details on its use. If you do experience problems, please contact us through a Helpdesk ticket, selecting "Gemini Observatory Archive" as the topic.

Fast Turnaround News, Including the First Publication

Every month another Fast Turnaround (FT) proposal deadline arrives, with this month’s on November 30. Programs can now use instruments at either Gemini North or South. The previous proposal round was popular, with 16 proposals submitted and now under review. Full information on the current offerings and requirements are posted at the FT web page, and the FT blog has the latest news. The first publication based on FT observations has been published: Principal Investigator Michael Gladders (University of Chicago), lead author Haakon Dahle (University of Oslo, Norway), and collaborators measure the time delay in a lensed quasar system. See the Gemini website for brief information; the full results are published in The Astrophysical Journal and a preprint is available.
Color composite image from Gemini North and the Nordic Optical Telescope shows three bright lensed quasar images whose time delays have been measured.

Learning is Fun at Gemini’s Viaje al Universo!

A week of fun, learning, and even humor highlighted Gemini Observatory’s 5th annual Viaje al Universo program in late October. This year nearly 4,000 local Chilean students, teachers, and the public joined Gemini and other local observatory staff in the program’s hands- and minds-on activities in classrooms and around town. The program’s annual Career Panel attracted over 100 students and teachers from the La Serena area, introducing them to the variety of staffing roles that observatories need to operate. Three guests from Spain brought the “Big Van: Scientists on Wheels” program to the community and amped up the excitement to astronomical levels! Finally, later this month, five students and one teacher from each of the participating Viaje al Universo schools will visit the Gemini South telescope for a glimpse into our mountaintop facility. We send special thanks to all of the staff from Gemini and other observatories and organizations who made this year’s program such a huge success.
Gemini South scientist Pascale Hibon (left) chats with students from the San Joaquín school following the Career Panel event.
Javier Santaolalla, particle physicist from The Big Van group, shares a fun moment with students at Carlos Condell de la Haza school as he explains proton collisions.

Gemini South Primary Mirror Received a Silver Coating

During the recent scheduled maintenance, which took place October 13th - 30th, the Gemini South telescope's primary mirror received a fresh multi-layer protected silver coating. Read more details about the Gemini South's scheduled shutdown on the Gemini blog.

The Gemini telescope mirrors are recoated about every 5 years. Click to see a time lapse of the last Gemini South mirror coating in 2010: MP4 Video or QuickTime Video.
Gemini South optical engineers inspect the primary mirror after 7-hour coating process.
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