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Status and Availability
Status and Availability
GRACES is currently designed as an experiment and a future decision about providing GRACES for science observations is dependent upon measured on-sky performance and reaching a long term agreement to share this facility between CFHT and Gemini.
There is a possibility of a call for System Verification programs during 2014B, as some of the reserve science time is potentially available for GRACES, but nothing will be decided until acceptance testing and commissioning are completed.
GRACES will only be available when ESPaDOnS is not used at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). You can have a look at the current CFHT's observing schedule here, but please note that the schedule for each semester is prepared at about the same time as for Gemini. It is therefore impossible to know at the time of a call for proposal when GRACES will be available during the corresponding semester.
Note that ESPaDOnS is schedule for 2-3 runs of ~2 weeks each semester at CFHT. This leaves about 4 months when GRACES can be offered at Gemini each semester. However, only 1.5 of those 4 mothns are going to be in bright time, since most of the ESPaDOnS runs are scheduled during the brightest moon phases. Because the GRACES cassette containing the fiber injectors will be inserted in the same rack which supports the GMOS IFUs, it will not be possible to use both on the same night. Since IFU obsevations usually require lower backgroud, they will have priorities over GRACES during dark time. On the good side, swapping between the IFUs and the GRACES cassette can be done quickly and fairly easily during day time. All that considered, we can estimate that GRACES will be available at the telescope for about a quarter of each semester.
You can find an interesting discussion about the potential impact of Atmospheric Refraction here (note that this is a GMOS page).
January 18, 2014
The two 270m science fiber are made, and are in specs with a 20% focal ratio degradation (with the bare fiber polished ends)!
October 30, 2013
First major milestone is reached! FiberTech Optica achieved to make a 200m test fiber which has a focal ratio degradation of 15%! We have demonstrated that very long fibers for astronomical use are possible to make.