GeminiFocus January 2018 | Page 5

convened by the National Science Founda- tion, and then, most recently, by the Gemini Board of Directors. Still working towards a starting date of October 1, 2018, the NCOA team is now one step closer to implementa- tion, pending final review from the National Science Board (expected in February 2018). Between November 9th and 17th, we met in La Serena with our governance bodies: first with the Gemini Science and Technol- ogy Advisory Committee (STAC), followed by the AURA Oversight Council for Gemini (AOC-G), and finally the Gemini Board of Directors; the STAC and Board reports can be accessed through the Gemini website . I found the meetings extremely productive, and feel very fortunate to have committee members so dedicated and committed to the Observatory. A very clear message emerged from these meetings: adaptive optics (AO) is one of Gemini’s main strengths, and we need to capitalize on it. GeMS, in particular, is an unparalleled world-class facility. The STAC recommended, and the Board approved, we explore options to move GeMS to the North once GHOST and OCTOCAM become fully operational in the South. This is a bold suggestion, but one that does make a great deal of sense, as GHOST and OCTOCAM will undoubtedly be in high demand, making it unlikely that GeMS will have the telescope time required to meet user demands. Meanwhile, Gemini North is not being fully exploited, despite the fact that the tele- scope is built on Maunakea — arguably the finest site for astronomical research on the planet. In particular, the AO characteristics of Maunakea (especially the coherence time) are unparalleled. Upgrading GeMS, and moving it to Gemini North, will not only release some of the pressure Gemini South will certainly face once LSST opera- tions start, but also give new purpose and a clear vision to Gemini on Maunakea. January 2018 The STAC and Board also strongly validated the strategic and scientific importance of Large and Long Programs (LLPs) at Gem- ini. Starting in Semester 2018B, all Band 1 (non-Target of Opportunity) LLPs will be guaranteed a minimum 80% completion — pending satisfactory annual performance reviews — and will be automatically ex- tended beyond the end of their nominal al- location period, if necessary. And, to ensure that the entire community benefits from the large time invested in LLPs (almost a full three years since the start of the 2014B pro- gram), all Principal Investigators of new LLPs will be required to deliver fully reduced data sets to the Observatory. Finally, a similar desire to ensure maximal exploitation of Gemini data by the user community motivated a recommendation to implement a new data access policy for Target of Opportunity Programs that com- pete for the same target (a lesson learned from the GW170817 campaign); the new policies can be found here. I will end this message by announcing our newest partner: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. A two-year Memorandum of Un- derstanding will allow our Israeli colleagues to exploit Gemini’s capabilities to study the high-redshift Universe. A very warm wel- come to our new partner, and I am looking forward to a very fruitful collaboration! Laura Ferrarese is the Gemini Observatory Inter- im Director. She can be reached at: [email protected] GeminiFocus 3