GeminiFocus October 2017 | Page 10

Figure 2 . The sequence above shows infrared imaging from the FLAMINGOS-2 imager and spectrograph for a period of over two weeks . The top row features images in the
H-band , a shorter ( bluer ) wavelength of infrared light .
The bottom row focuses mostly on K-band images , which are longer ( redder ) wavelengths of light . This sequence reveals how the object became redder as it faded from view .
Image credit : Gemini
Observatory / NSF / AURA / Edo Berger ( Harvard ), Peter Blanchard ( Harvard ), Ryan Chornock ( Ohio University ),
Leo Singer ( NASA ), Mansi Kasliwal ( Caltech ), Ryan Lau ( Caltech ) and the GROWTH collaboration , Travis Rector
( University of Alaska ), Jennifer Miller ( Gemini Observatory )
Mansi Kasliwal , Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Caltech , presented her team ’ s findings at the Caltech press conference in Pasadena and recalls the excitement of the discovery : “ Within 23 minutes of submitting our observing proposal to hunt for infrared photons it was approved by the Gemini Director !” Kasliwal , who was Principal Investigator of the worldwide Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen ( GROWTH ) team studying the event , continues , “ On that first night the 8-meter Gemini South telescope successfully captured some of the first infrared photons ever seen from a neutron-neutron star merger — it was thrilling !”
Harvard astronomer Edo Berger , who presented at the D . C . press conference , describes the Gemini observations as , “ collectively the longest-running , and finest , infrared imaging and spectroscopy of this object that we have available .” Berger adds that the data directly demonstrate that the
The observations of this gravitational wave source brought out the best in Gemini ’ s staff and their commitment to obtaining the best data under extreme circumstances . Of special note are the individuals below who played critical roles in acquiring these data :
Morten Andersen Pablo Candia Joy Chavez Gonzalo Diaz German Gimeno Hwihyun Kim Ariel Lopez
Lindsay Magill Pablo Prado Ricardo Salinas David Sanmartim Alysha Shugart Karleyne Silva Erich Wenderoth
much-speculated mechanism of a neutron star binary merger caused this gravitational ripple in space and time . In the process the event formed and dispersed heavy elements , like gold , into space . “ Here , for the first time , using Gemini , we showed the direct signature of the formation of heavy elements ,” says Berger , “[ This ] solves solves the decades-long mystery of the origin of
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