GeminiFocus January 2018 - Page 23

Speaking of modest resources, all three committees recognized the critical impor- tance of not only maintaining the current level of funding, but of stepping up efforts to expand the Partnership and increasing both our operating and development bud- gets. Looking for new partners has always been a Board prerogative, but at this meet- ing the Board directed the Observatory to take the lead. We fully intend to do so, as our recent efforts with Israel and Korea demonstrate. Another common theme brought up by all three committees was the strategic impor- tance of adaptive optics and the recogni- tion that this is a real strength for Gemini. In the months ahead, we will step up our efforts to restore the Gemini Multi-conju- gate adaptive optics System (GeMS) to its intended performance, and improve Altair, Gemini North’s adaptive optics system. The STAC further recommended, and the Board approved, to explore options to move GeMS to the North, once the Gemini High- resolution Optical SpecTrograph (GHOST) and OCTOCAM become fully operational in the South. This is a bold suggestion, but one that does make a great deal of sense for many reasons, including ensuring that GeMS is guaranteed the time it needs at the telescope, and giving a unique capabil- ity and a new purpose to Gemini North. Changes to Large and Long Programs Since 2014, Gemini has enabled Large and Long Programs (LLPs), via a pool of time contributed by participating partners. The aim of LLPs is to produce “flagship” science by granting major allocations of time to programs that are either large (in the sense that they exceed what one would normally expect the national Time Allocation Com- mittees (TACs) to allocate), or long (span- January 2018 ning multiple semesters), or both. However, while we have achieved completion rates comparable to those in the regular queue for most of these programs, a formal tar- get completion rate has been missing. This leaves Principal Investigators uncertain re- garding what to expect, and is inconsistent with the “flagship” designation. At the recent STAC meeting, we asked the committee to help us resolve this problem. They agreed that for LLPs in Band 1 a target completion rate of at least 80% should be guaranteed. As discussed in the current LLP Announcement of Opportunity, if a Band-1 LLP reaches the end of its term (the set of se- mesters over which it was granted time) and is less than 80% complete, we will extend it automatically semester by semester until it reaches that mark. LLPs at term with more than 80% completion, and Band-2 LLPs, still have the option of formally requesting an ex- tension via the LLP TAC. This new policy won’t apply to Target of Opportunity programs, and it won’t be backdated to existing LLPs. An End to Rollover The process of “rolling over” designated queue programs until they are complete has been a feature of Gemini’s operations for many years. However, it added a sig- nificant degree of complication and guess- work in semester planning, was not well understood by Principal Investigators or even by Time Allocation Committee (TAC) members, and was not applied by all par- ticipants. Recognizing the benefit that rollover brought for programs in Band 1, we have been discussing, over the course of a num- ber of Operations Working Group meetings, the possibility of replacing it with some- thing simpler (or removing it altogether). By August 2017, we agreed on a proposal: to replace the current rollover system, in GeminiFocus 21