GeminiFocus July 2018 | Page 17

Gemini staff contributions Figure 1. Below, top: Laser testing by Gemini optical engineer Tom Schneider conducted in the Pier Lab “Laser Safe Zone.” On the Horizon Below, bottom: Gemini science operations specialist Christy Cunningham assisting with GNEST Assembly in the Pier Lab. TOPTICA laser has its first night of commissioning and science runs at Gemini South. The new next- generation instrument OCTOCAM is now known as SCORPIO. Visiting instruments are performing well at both Gemini North and South, while plans for others are underway. Credit: Photos on this page and next by Jeff Donahue Gemini North TOPTICA Upgrade Moves Forward On October 26, 2017, the TOPTICA Phototronics AG laser had its first night of commissioning (and successful science runs) at Gemini South. Since then, laser preparations and testing for the Gemini North laser upgrade have been completed at the Level 1 Pier Lab. Following this accomplishment, considerable work was performed to add the optical bench, or beam injection module, to the Gemini North Electronic System TOPTICA (GNEST) — home to both the laser head and op- tical bench. Support electronics have also been added and tested. On June 1st, the laser assembly was moved from the Level 1 Pier Lab to Level 5; and there it will remain as we continue to prepare the telescope for this addition, as additional components are re- quired before we can mount the laser on the telescope. To date, we have removed the old LMCT laser, restored the telescope to pre-laser condition, and added our in-house designed heat ex- changer and laser interlock system. The software group is also working hard to develop the software interfaces that will be used to run the new laser. We expect continued preparation on the telescope this month and next. July 2018 GeminiFocus 15