GeminiFocus April 2019 - Page 4

in Arizona. The science (which includes data from the visiting high-resolution, near-infrared spectrograph, IGRINS) ranged from high-red- shift Lyman-alpha blobs to shock physics in the Orion Nebula. I also toured the KASI instrumentation labo- ratory where work on IGRINS2 — the Gemini facility instrument successor to IGRINS — is al- ready underway. Finally, we began planning for the next Gemini Science Meeting, to be held in Korea in the summer of 2020, in celebration of Gemini Observatory's 20th anniversary. Meanwhile, work on our new Gemini in the Era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy (GEMMA) program is ramping up. This exciting six-year project has three main aims: 1) to build a new multi-conjugate adaptive optics (AO) facil- ity at Gemini North (GNAO), while updating our AO real-time computing system for both telescopes; 2) to develop the software infra- structure needed for multi-messenger and time-domain astronomy in the era of Laser In- terferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) research; and 3) to convene workshops on communication and outreach focused on how to promote the message of multi-mes- senger astronomy. We convened technical advisory and science advisory AO working groups to refine our technical and science requirements for GNAO, drawing on a broad base of expertise from the AO and Gemini partner communities. Many thanks to the AO working group chair, Julian Christou (Large Binocular Telescope Observa- tory), and the GNAO science team chair, Suresh Sivanandam (University of Toronto). One of the primary goals of the new GNAO system is to provide rapid-response high spatial resolution data for time-domain science programs; these science-use cases are described in a 2020 Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophys- ics (Astro2020) white paper, “Probing the Time Domain with High Spatial Resolution,” led by Gemini's Chief Scientist John Blakeslee. 2 GeminiFocus We also convened our time-domain as- tronomy policy group, chaired by Abi Saha (National Optical Astronomy Observatory), which is tasked with advising Gemini on time allocation policies for Target of Opportunity and other time-domain astronomy programs in the era of LIGO and LSST. This includes re- viewing and advising the Observatory on pro- cesses to maximize the science return from transient object follow-up, while protecting the completion rates of programs targeting non-transient sources. It also includes broader policy considerations such as the exchange or pooling of observing time while participat- ing in a transient follow-up network such as the Astronomical Event Observatory Network (AEON). The final recommendations of this group will be reported to the Gemini Board by November 2019. For 15 years, Gemini Observatory has led the Journey Through the Universe outreach program in Hawai’i. Each March, this program brings together astronomers, K-12 students, obser- vatory staff, teachers, and community leaders on the Big Island for a week of activities that help foster STEM education and learning. This year’s events included classroom visits by over 70 astronomy professionals, portable planetar- ium visits to pre-kindergarteners through first graders, and career panels at Waiākea and Hilo High Schools. (See local news coverage here.) Journey Through the Universe and AstroDay Chile are both highlighted starting on page 21. Both of these programs are important bridges be- tween today's astronomers and the present and future Hawai’i and Chile communities. I look forward to the exciting times ahead for the Observatory and the astronomical com- munity, as we steer Gemini into the future where new and exciting discoveries await. Jennifer Lotz is the Gemini Observatory Director. She can be reached at: [email protected] April 2019