GeminiFocus October 2018 - Page 19

Gemini staff contributions News for Users Figure 1 (bottom left). Excitement mounts after Gemini hosts two new visiting instruments that promise to push polarization boundary observations at Gemini North. Work progresses on the cutting- edge radial velocity spectrograph MAROON-X and its Front End components. The new TOPTICA fiber laser for Gemini North nears commissioning. After a complete disassembly, lens bubbles have been eliminated in the collimator assembly of GMOS-S. Gemini South’s annual shutdown is a rousing success as efficiency improves. Now a shutdown at Gemini North is underway. Polarimetry Abounds at Gemini North In July and August 2018, we had the pleasure of two visiting instruments pushing the bound- aries of polarization observations at Gemini North. First Jeremy Bailey and Daniel Cotton (both University of New South Wales) arrived to test their “new-to-us” instrument HIPPI-2 (Figures 1 and 2). Designed to capture the direct polarization signatures of exoplanets, this instrument has been in use at the 3.9-meter Anglo-Australian Telescope with spectacular results (Bott et al., Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 459: L109, 2016). The Gemini visit also went well, and though the instrument has not been made available for science observations yet, these initial tests will be very helpful in characterizing the polarization characteris- tics of the Gemini North tele- scope. We hope to include HIPPI-2 in a future Call for Proposals, so please remem- ber to check the list of visit- ing instruments whenever a new call comes out! October 2018 GeminiFocus Jeremy Bailey (left) and Daniel Cotton (right) attach their tiny HIPPI-2 instrument to the bottom port of Gemini North, with help from Harlan Uehara (Maunakea Site Manager, center). Credit: Alison Peck Figure 2 (bottom right). Harlan Uehara (rght) and Gemini North’s Senior Instrumentation Engineer John White (right) position the ballast weight assembly so that it attaches to the instrument port around HIPPI-2. The ballast weight is necessary to balance the telescope because HIPPI-2 weighs much, much less than the facility instruments! Credit: Alison Peck 17