A Very Young Moon



A very young moon captured by Gemini Photographer Joy Pollard. 8/26/14 19:19:55 HST. The inset shows a close up of the moon.

Working in a place as spectacularly beautiful at Mauna Kea, every now and then I get the chance to image something new.  In this case very new!  The thin sliver of a crescent moon was roughly 15 hours old when the Sun’s reflected photons excited my camera’s CCD.  Engrossed in setting up for the night’s time-lapse sequence, for the current “COLOSSOS” run, I looked up to see this on the horizon. It took my breath away (and not just because of the thin air)! I was torn, I didn’t want to interrupt the already-in-progress time-lapse sequence; I had another camera, but it was back inside (and I couldn’t abandon the time-lapse rig).  So, I radioed the night-crew, and as luck would have it, Rosemary Pike, a visiting student observer from the University of Victoria, BC (and Co-Investigator for COLOSSOS), found a spare moment to deliver the backup camera, exclaiming, “… what is this, a sack of bricks!”  With twilight fast fading, the vanishing moon was a challenge to image – I ended up taking over 50 shots, hoping just one of them would come close to capturing the moment!  – Joy

A very young moon captured by Gemini Photographer Joy Pollard. 8/26/14 19:19:55 HST.

Image without inset. Exposure 1/40 sec, f2.8, ISO 800, 70mm, taken with a Canon EOS Mark II.


Closeup image of the “sliver moon” just before disappearing below the clouds.


Gemini Morning Twilight

Please enjoy and share this image of Gemini North obtained during the current COLOSSOS Large and Long program run. This image, taken by Gemini’s Joy Pollard shows the early twilight sky, with the crescent moon at right.


Pre-dawn twilight view of the Gemini North, and Canada France Hawai‘i Telescopes during the COLOSSOS run. Click on the image to see larger version.

Quiz: Can you identify the natural glow arching upward between Gemini North and the Moon in this image? Be sure to leave your answers at our Facebook page linked below!


Large and Long Tweets!

…or rather, tweets from one of Gemini’s Large and Long programs.

If you’re a regular Twitter user, or even a casual tweeter, consider following: @wtfastro (Wesley Fraser) and; @astrokiwi (Michele Bannister). They are both live-tweeting their experiences at the Gemini North telescope, on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. The team is at Gemini working on the COLOSSOS: COLours for the Outer Solar System Object Survey program. This is one of many observations in Gemini’s new Large and Long Programs mode – learn more about Large and Long Programs at: http://www.gemini.edu/node/12238

This round of observations for COLOSSOS continues through Friday/Saturday, night/morning (August 29/30, Hawai’i Standard Time).


The Gemini North telescope (foreground) and Canada-France-Hawai’i Telescope (background), both observing the same target as part of the COLOSSOS program. Gemini Observatory/AURA image by Joy Pollard


Gemini’s night crew work with visiting astronomer Wesley Fraser (Principal Investigator, middle/left at console) and Rosemary Pike (Co-Investigator, via remote on screen). Rosemary is visiting as part of the Bring one, Get one program, see:

Large and Long Programs Proposals Selection

This year, starting in semester 2014B, the Gemini Observatory begins observing the proposals selected as part of the Large and Long Program initiative (for programs which require more time than is typically awarded for Gemini observing programs). As an example, the Dark Energy Survey team, plans to explore examples of strong gravitational lenses using spectroscopy.

Other programs include observations of galaxy clusters; studies of the surface of trans-Neptunian objects; motions of the Milky Way; the survey discovery rate of very young supernovae; and newly discovered asteroids and comets close to the Earth (as shown in the figure below).

You can find out more by going to the Long and Large Programs webpage.


The photo is a sequence of four Gemini images of an 800 diameter-meter near-Earth asteroid 2014 EN45 (circled), discovered by the NEOWISE survey on 6 March 2014.

This sequence of four Gemini images shows the 800-meter-wide Near-Earth Asteroid 2014 EN45 (circled), which was discovered by the NEOWISE survey on March 6, 2014.

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