GeminiFocus October 2018 | Page 14

Gemini staff contributions On the Horizon Funding from the National Science Foundation will allow Gemini to develop a multi-conjugate adaptive optics system at Gemini North and advance rapid follow-up capabilities for transient sources. SCORPIO, Gemini’s next-generation instrument, remains on schedule for its Optical Critical Design Review by the end of November. The call for the Instrument Upgrade Program has been postponed until mid-2019. And the future GIRMOS instrument should ideally position Gemini to take the lead in the era of multi-messenger astronomy. Gemini Observatory to Advance Adaptive Optics and Multi-messenger Astronomy with NSF Award Gemini recently received a multi-million dollar award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to enhance its role in the era of “multi-messenger astronomy” and improve its adap- tive optics (AO) capabilities. The award funds major software and operational upgrades at both of the Gemini 8-meter telescopes for rapid follow-up studies of transient sources, as well as a state-of-the-art multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) system for wide-field, high-resolution imaging at the Gemini North telescope on Maunakea in Hawai‘i. The new funding will be used in part to develop automated systems to trigger follow-up observations and quickly deliver science-ready data to astronomers through automated data processing pipelines. “With this funding Gemini will significantly advance multi- messenger and time-domain, or transient-source, astronomy,” said Anne Kinney, Head of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division at NSF. “We’ve witnessed a surge of as- tronomical discoveries in areas such as gravitational waves, exotic varieties of stellar ex- plosions, and collisions within our own Solar System where a full understanding depends critically upon rapid characterization of the discoveries using ground-based facilities like Gemini,” Kinney added. 12 GeminiFocus October 2018