GeminiFocus January 2019 - Page 4

Much of the discussion at the STAC meeting centered around the plan to advance the adaptive optics facilities at Gemini Obser- vatory by the mid-2020s. With the October announcement of new NSF funding called GEMMA (Gemini in the Era of Multi-Messen- ger Astronomy), plans are now underway to develop a state-of-the-art multi-conjugate adaptive optics (AO) facility instrument at Gemini North (GNAO) by 2024. In combina- tion with the exquisite observing conditions on Maunakea, GNAO will yield high-resolu- tion imaging and spectroscopic capabilities over a 2 arcminute field of view, allowing de- tailed studies of galactic stars and star-form- ing regions, high density stellar populations, and transient events in distant galaxies. The GEMMA award also allows us to update the real-time controllers (RTC) — which ana- lyze data from wavefront sensors and com- mand the deformable mirrors that correct the image for the Gemini Multi-conjugate adaptive optics System. The same RTC de- sign will be implemented into the GNAO system (benefitting both telescopes). Complementing the GEMMA award, the STAC and Board endorsed a plan (targeted for completion by 2026) to develop an adap- tive optics secondary mirror for Gemini North which will be fully compatible with the new MCAO and RTC systems and future Gemini North instruments. These develop- ments allow us to push Gemini North AO on a path toward an even larger corrected field of view, higher correction performance, and greater wavelength coverage; it also gives us the future potential to provide Ground- Layer AO (GLAO) and Single-Conjugate AO (SCAO) for all instruments on the telescope. Further Expansions and Results Time-domain and multi-messenger astron- omy are also exciting areas of development and on-going science programs for Gemini. 2 GeminiFocus We are looking forward to the next run at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Ob- servatory (LIGO) during the first half of 2019. Recent upgrades to LIGO will make it sensi- tive to gravitational wave sources at greater distances and in larger numbers than previ- ous observations. We are also preparing for rapid follow-up of electromagnetic counter- parts with Gemini’s bi-hemisphere access and flexible queue scheduling. Thanks in part to the NSF’s GEMMA award, we can now begin enhancing our software infrastructure for the start of Large Syn- optic Survey Telescope’s (LSST’s) science operations in about 2022. These improve- ments will benefit all users through greater observing efficiency and improved data reduction tools. In order to prepare for the strong demand for time-domain follow-up observations, while maintaining non-Target of Opportunity (ToO) science productivity, we plan to develop the software necessary for an automated, dynamic queue system. This system will also coordinate with a wider network of follow-up facilities, and include an improved spectroscopic data reduction pipeline. We continue making excellent progress on the Gemini facility instrument SCORPIO, an eight-channel optical/infrared imager and spectrograph with simultaneous cov- erage from 0.38-2.5 microns. SCORPIO will serve as a workhorse instrument at Gemini South for ToO and general observers alike by about 2022. For more information, please join me at the splinter session titled Science with SCORPIO on Gemini at the Winter 2019 meeting of the American Astronomical Soci- ety (AAS). In the near term, Gemini’s science programs are going “high-resolution” by pushing the extremes of spatial and spectral resolution, including two new Large and Long Pro- grams: one, with Ian Crossfield (University January 2019