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Gemini e-Newscast #106

April 19, 2018

In This e-Newscast:

A Galaxy Devoid of Dark Matter

Astronomers using data from the Gemini and W. M. Keck Observatories in Hawai‘i have encountered a galaxy that appears to have almost no dark matter. Since the Universe is dominated by dark matter, and it is the foundation upon which galaxies are built, “...this is a game changer,” according to Principal Investigator Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University.

“Finding a galaxy without dark matter is unexpected because this invisible, mysterious substance is the most dominant aspect of any galaxy,” said van Dokkum. The research is published in the March 29th issue of the journal Nature and the Gemini press release can be found here.
Left:  The ultra-diffuse galaxy NGC 1052-DF is rich in globular clusters, which hold the key to understanding this mysterious object’s origin and mass.

Right: A closer look at one of the globular clusters within the galaxy, which are all much brighter than typical, the brightest emitting almost as much light as the brightest within the Milky Way.  The spectrum, obtained by Keck Observatory shows the absorption lines used to determine the velocity of this object. Ten clusters were observed, providing the information needed to determine the mass of the galaxy, revealing its lack of dark matter.

Image credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA/Keck/Jen Miller/Joy Pollard

Science and Evolution of Gemini Meeting Workshops

Registration for the Science and Evolution of Gemini 2018 workshops is up and running and it looks as though the workshop registration fees will be less than the prices listed below. Sign up now and be a part of reducing the fees even further! The fee covers only room rental and audio visual costs (and lunch for the “Under the Hood” Talks), so the greater the attendance, the less the registration fee. Below are brief descriptions and a registration link for each workshop.
Those who register for a workshop(s) will be notified when the workshop fee has been set and the payment page is available.

Data Reduction Workshop (Up to $35)
Speed Collaboration (Up to $30, maximum 40 participants)
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. There is nothing to prepare or bring with you except for an open mind. This will be a great way to begin the conference, and hopefully will serve as a jumping off point for continuing conversations throughout the week. More ...
"Under the Hood" Talk (up to $45)
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. Registration fee includes lunch.
Registration is also open for the general session of the Science and Evolution of Gemini Observatory conference.

We are go for IGRINS!

IGRINS team members from the University of Texas Austin and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), with the help of Gemini staff, successfully completed the commissioning of IGRINS on Gemini South ahead of schedule. The instrument shipped from Texas to Chile and was checked out and installed when it arrived a couple of weeks later. Commissioning began with daytime connectivity tests to ensure that IGRINS could be operated from the base facility using the Visiting Instrument Interface (VII), saving the team and supporting staff from having to travel back and forth to the summit. These activities were successful, and the expert team was able to achieve first light on the first night of testing!

IGRINS has a strong track record of diverse and innovative science results, providing both broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution covering the H and K windows, from 1.45 to 2.5 microns, in a single exposure. We are now looking forward to science observations beginning on April 21st. IGRINS observations will be carried out by instrument team members in several blocks over the next three months.

Prof. Daniel Jaffe of UT Austin is the IGRINS PI. Dr. Chan Park of KASI is deputy PI and KASI’s instrument PI. The IGRINS visit to Gemini is supported by the US National Science Foundation under grant AST-1702267 (PI- Gregory Mace, University of Texas at Austin), and by the Korean GMT Project of KASI.
The happy team takes a selfie after achieving first light  (left to right: Jae-Joon Lee, Heeyoung Oh, Pablo Prado, Hwihyun Kim, Pablo Candia, Kimberly Sokal)

Octocam Preliminary Design Review

The Octocam team completed its Preliminary Design Review on the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) campus in San Antonio, Texas on April 4th – 5th. Community interest in Octocam allowed us to field a very experienced review committee and the location of the meeting allowed a large number of SwRI staff members to attend. The Octocam team now has a few actions to work through in response to committee findings and will work with Gemini management to form a plan at a meeting at SwRI later this month.
The Octocam Preliminary Design Review participants including review committee members, team members from SwRI, Fractal, STScI, and George Washington University, an invited consultant from Johns Hopkins University, and Gemini staff.

New F2 Data Reduction Cookbook

A guide to the reduction and calibration of imaging and long-slit spectrocsopy data from FLAMINGOS-2 is now available on the Gemini Data Reduction User Forum. Comments, questions, or notifications of errors are encouraged and can be submitted via email to or helpdesk request using the Gemini IRAF category.

Gemini Staff Join in Hilo's Merrie Monarch Parade

Over 40 astronomy professionals and fans marched in this year’s Merrie Monarch Parade, led by cultural practitioner Kimo Pihana and Gemini and East Asian Observatory directors Laura Ferrarese and Jessica Dempsey, respectively. This year, in addition to handing out astronomical-themed candies, CO2 “snow” (as used to clean telescope mirrors) flurried down the streets from a decorated Maunakea Support Services (MKSS) vehicle. The Merrie Monarch parade is part of the annual week-long Merrie Monarch Hula festival in Hilo which attracts thousands of visitors and local residents each year to Hilo. The festival honors King David Kalākaua, who was known as the “Merrie Monarch” for his patronage of Native Hawaiian arts, and for his role in the revitalization of Hawaiian culture.
The Maunakea Observatory marchers line up at the start of the parade route.
Image credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA/Alexis Acohido
Parade watchers were treated to a shower of CO2 snow from Gemini Public Information and Outreach Manager Peter Michaud in the back of the MKSS truck.
Image Credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA/Alexis Acohido
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