GeminiFocus April 2018 | Page 4

Meanwhile , in Chile , similarly inspiring activities took place during the week of March 16th . More than 3,000 people participated in AstroDay Chile 2018 , an event that includes science workshops , lectures , career panels and , last but not least , a massive star party . And at this point I cannot help but mention , with some amount of pride , although I can take no credit whatsoever for any of it , that both Journey Through the Universe and AstroDay Chile are coordinated by the exceptional staff of the Gemini Observatory ’ s Public Information and Outreach ( PIO ) Office : Alexis , Christine , Dalma , Fernanda , Janice , Jason , Joy , Manuel , Peter , and Xiaoyu , along with current Gemini North PIO interns Hannah and Jasmin . Their dedication , and the dedication of all those who participate in Journey and AstroDay , is one of the many factors that make Gemini , and all observatories , so much more than mere places of employment . See pictures from this year ’ s Journey and AstroDay programs starting on page 21 of this issue .
Moving to instrumentation , the big news is the arrival , at Gemini South , of the Cassegrain assembly for our next facility instrument , GHOST . The assembly , built by our colleagues at the Anglo Australian Observatory , was successfully tested at the beginning of February . We are now eagerly anticipating the arrival of the actual spectrograph , built in Canada by the National Research Council-Herzberg , and scheduled for delivery in the late spring of 2019 .
For OCTOCAM , the next milestone , the Preliminary Design Review , will take place on April 4-5 at Southwest Research Institute headquarters in San Antonio , Texas . Meanwhile , Massimo Robberto , from the Space
Telescope Science Institute , has joined the project as Principal Investigator , and we at Gemini are very much looking forward to working with Massimo and the rest of the OCTOCAM team to bring this exciting instrument to Gemini in time for the start of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope ( LSST ) operations .
And finally , some big news on the National Center for Optical-infrared Astronomy ( NCOA , working name ) front : on February 22nd , the U . S . National Science Board endorsed the NCOA plan and recommended its implementation . NCOA , as you might remember , calls for the integration , within a single matrixed structure , of the operations of the current Gemini and National Optical Astronomy Observatory facilities with the future operations of LSST . NCOA will facilitate collaborations and partnerships and , critically , will provide opportunities for innovation that are presently beyond the scope and capacity of the individual centers . The National Science Board ’ s endorsement was the last of a long series of reviews for NCOA , all of which it passed successfully . NCOA is now moving full steam ahead , with a planned start date of October 2018 .
All of this — the outreach activities , the instrumentation , NCOA — is done for a single purpose : the advancement of science . But for that , I will leave you to the expert and eloquent commentary of our Chief Scientist , John Blakeslee , who highlights many of the recent science highlights from Gemini starting on page 8 of this issue .
Laura Ferrarese is the Gemini Observatory Interim Director . She can be reached at : lferrarese @ gemini . edu
2 GeminiFocus April 2018