GS SHUTDOWN (a Gemini South Planned Shutdown Video)

This tongue-in-cheek “movie trailer,” produced by PIO staffer Manuel Paredes’ during his free “creative” time, features staff involved in the Gemini South scheduled shutdown activities which are ongoing until August 22, 2014. Some primary goals include work on secondary mirror electronics; maintenance of the Acquisition and Guiding unit; and the replacement of helium supply lines in the Cassegrain Rotator. At the same time, Gemini staff are working on several task related to instrument maintenance which include GMOS, FLAMINGOS-2, Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), Canopus, and the Laser Bench of the Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optic System.

GS Shutdown trailer


Aloha Akamai

Today the Akamai interns of the Hawai‘i workforce initiative give their presentations at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo.  Their original presentation was canceled due to then Hurricane Iselle.  Gemini staff were given the opportunity to hear these presentations ahead of everyone else, and we wish them luck in their talks today, and in their future adventures.  Keep a sharp eye out as it is likely these students will be back, many former Akamai interns have found jobs working at Hawai‘i’s observatories.

At the end of their internship with us, they had the rare opportunity to visit our summit facility, and meet two former Akamai interns.



Akamai interns with their mentors outside of Gemini North.


Former Akamai intern (and current Gemini staff member on left) Cy Bagano poses with current Akamai interns; Doan, Derek, and Jonathan (left to right).



Jonathan DeCosta (Mentor – Jason Kalawe) “Gemini SciOps Web Portal”


Derek Hand (Mentor – Andreea Petric) “Gas In Luminous Infrared Galaxies.”


Doan Pham – (Mentor – Chris Stark) “Is Bigger really Better?”

Tuan Giang (Mentor Tom Cummings) “The Fault in our System: Improving Event Handling at Gemini Observatory”

Tuan Giang (Mentor Tom Cummings) “The Fault in our System: Improving Event Handling at Gemini Observatory”

TEXES Returns to Gemini North

The visiting instrument TEXES, (a high-resolution mid-infrared spectrograph) currently on Gemini North, continues its run despite interruptions by a hurricane and other weather events. The TEXES team is well-along in observing all of their highest-priority targets, and expects to observe many more before their run ends on August 17th. The TEXES visiting team commented that the Gemini day crew, and other support staff have, “…helped us out a ton,” and Gemini staff look forward to many more visits by TEXES and other visiting instruments.

Here’s a quick behind-the-scenes time-lapse of the Gemini day crew installing TEXES on its previous visit to Mauna Kea.

Good Luck Cindy!

Thursday was Gemini North intern Cindy Villamil’s last day with Gemini.  Here is what she had to say about her internship with us.

“While I was here I was working on HST (Hubble Space Telescope) images of a galaxy cluster called RXJ0848.6+4453. Mainly I was running and modifying scripts to help me extract and analyze the (photometric and structural parameters of) objects in these images. One of my main goals was to get a program called Galapagos working so that we could analyze all of the images simultaneously.

“After this I’m going back to being a science educator at The Newark Museum in New Jersey to teach astronomy and other sciences in the planetarium and throughout the entire science area of the museum while I apply for graduate school in astronomy.

“I can also tell you that I absolutely loved working here and wish it could have lasted more than just 4 months. Being back in astronomy research was what I expected it to be and more. Getting to go up to the summit for 3 nights of observing with Andre Nicolas and Sabrina was definitely one of the highlights.”

Thanks for all your hard work Cindy, you will be missed!


Cindy (on left) shares her knowledge and energy answering a public question at AstroDay Hilo.

Congratulations Erich!

We are proud to announce that Erich Wenderoth, Gemini’s Science Operations Specialist, has obtained a Master in Physics, Honor Astrophysics, in the Universidad de La Serena. The committee that examined his Thesis Defense said it was at a PhD level and grade it with the maximum distinction. Erich’s thesis titled “Spectroscopy and Photometry of Collisional Ring Galaxies”, involves the study of HRG2304 and its neighbour AM1646-795 (NED01), both located at 178 megaparsec (580 million light years). Congratulations, Erich. All of your hard work has paid off!

Estamos orgullosos de anunciar que Erich Wenderoth, Especialista de Operaciones Científicas de Gemini, obtuvo un Magister en Física, con mención en Astrofísica, en la Universidad de La Serena. La comisión que evaluó su Defensa de Tesis, señaló que estaba a un nivel de Doctorado, por lo cual fue calificada con la más alta distinción. La Tesis de Erich, titulada “Espectroscopía y Fotometría de Galaxias Anilladas en Colisión”, involucra el estudio de HRG2304 y su vecina interactuante AM1646-795 (NED01), galaxias ubicadas a 178 megaparsec (580 millones de años luz). ¡Felicitaciones, Erich! ¡Todo tu esfuerzo ha rendido frutos!Congratulations Erich!