GeminiFocus April 2018 | Page 22

more information as plans develop over the coming two years, but the takeaway mes- sage is that ANTARES feeds should be avail- able to the Gemini community once LSST is operating. Gemini’s Cloudcams One of the benefits of observing at a tele- scope site is that, in the case of iffy weather, one can “pop outside the dome” and quickly (dark adaptation allowing) see what the sky is doing. So when Gemini relocated astrono- mers from the summit to base facility opera- tions (at the end of 2015 at Gemini North; end of 2016 at Gemini South) we were keen to ensure that our observers would be able to gauge the sky. For some years, the Canada-France-Hawai‘i telescope has been operating “cloudcams” — small and sensitive commercial cameras capable of long exposures — to provide cur- rent time-lapse photography of parts of the sky over Maunakea. The timelapse videos from these cameras quickly became popular among staff on the mountain and the public alike. After a com- parative study of as many alternatives as we could manage, we decided to adopt the same technology for Gemini’s Base Facility 20 GeminiFocus Operations project. With a view to maximize coverage, we set up five cameras: one points up, three face a cardinal direction (covering north, west, and south) and one points to- wards Hilo (rather than due east, to better pick up approaching fog which often comes upon us from that direction). These cameras are in use every night when we are open for observing, and provide ob- servers with the information they need. In addition, they also catch many interesting phenomena — natural and otherwise — and we fairly frequently receive requests for images when there has been, for example, extreme weather. Recently, — a news site for photographers — ran an article with the byline “This May Be the Most Awesome Camera on the Internet”! You can access the most recent 30 minutes of the cloud cams here. And the f/stoppers article is linked here (at the time of writing). All-night videos from the different cloud- cams are posted here. Finally, for a view of the southern sky from Gemini South, check the all-night archive here. April 2018