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:

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


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.