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Gemini e-Newscast #88

October 13, 2016

In This e-Newscast:


With the transition of Nancy Levenson from Gemini to STScI this e-newscast marks her final issue as editor. For the past 7 years Nancy has assured that every issue contains the latest relevant news and information for uses and the Gemini community at large. Nancy deserves a special thank-you for her devotion to this publication and to Gemini’s users worldwide. Although she will remain in the AURA community as Deputy Director at STScI, she will be missed at Gemini. Her commitment to our user community will be a tough act to follow!
-- Peter Michaud

The Deepest Near-infrared Color-Magnitude Diagram from the Ground 

Adaptive optics enables accurate and extremely deep photometry of crowded fields, as new work using observations from Gemini demonstrates. Sara Saracino (University of Bologna) and colleagues measured thousands of stars in the globular cluster NGC 6624 using the Gemini Multi-conjugate adaptive optics System (GeMS) and the Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI), finding an age of 12.0 +/- 0.5 gigayears. The near-infrared color-magnitude diagrams (using the J and Ks photometry) each span more than 8 magnitudes. The team detects the main sequence knee for the first time in a purely near-infrared color-magnitude diagram, at Ks ~ 20. They find clear evidence for mass segregation, which confirms that NGC 6624 is at an advanced stage of dynamical evolution. The work is featured in a Gemini press release and will be published in The Astrophysical Journal. A preprint is available.
Left: GeMS/GSAOI image of NGC 6624 reveals individual stars to the cluster’s core and covers a field more than 90 arcseconds across. Right: The color-magnitude diagrams of NGC6624 obtained from the Gemini observations.

Progress on Gen 4#3

Gemini Observatory received four very good Gen 4#3 instrument proposals before the Request for Proposals (RfP) deadline at the end of August.  An expert evaluation committee reviewed them and provided valuable feedback to Gemini for the selection process after a meeting in Tucson, Arizona on September 23rd.

In addition, a Board subcommittee charged with reviewing the selection components outside the purview of the evaluation committee, made their assessments as well.   The Board subcommittee responded promptly, helping maintain our schedule in the early stages of the project.

This month Gemini has been making a number of physical and virtual site visits to proposers to seek clarifications about their proposals before making a final recommendation to the Gemini Board by the end of the month.  We expect a selection decision shortly after the Board meeting in November.  We hope to be able to start the Gen 4#3 first design stage in the first quarter of 2017, although there is some risk in this date, pending the nature of the contract negotiations and approval processes.

October Issue of GeminiFocus Available

The October (3rd quarter) issue of GeminiFocus is now out in an easy-to-use e-publication format. Please access it at:

This issue features a science result summary by Andy Skemer titled, "A Gemini Spectrum of a World Colder than a Night on Maunakea," and other news for Gemini's user community, including the development of future instrumentation and existing and new capabilities for users. Also, if you are interested in observatory STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers don't miss the article "Observatory Careers: New Resources for Students, Teachers, and Parents."

What’s New in the Data Reduction Forum

Activity continues to ramp-up with the Gemini Data Reduction User Forum ( over the past 2 months. We invite you to visit and explore the new posts; while taking advantage of a new page listing all the shared pipelines and scripts ( These cover a diverse assortment of instruments, including: NIFS, GPI, Flamingos-2, GRACES, and certain modes of GMOS and GNIRS.
Copyright © 2016 Gemini Observatory, All rights reserved.

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