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Gemini Probes Red Stars in M82 Using Adaptive Optics

Gemini Near-Infrared Spectrograph (GNIRS) Nears First-Science

The blue image (left) of M-82 is a 10'X10' field from the Digital Sky Survey. The guidestar used for this Altair observation is indicated by the box indicating the 22 arcsecond field of view covered by the red ALTAIR image (right). The ALTAIR star images have a FWHM of 0.08 arcsecond. GNIRS on the Gemini South telescope on Cerro Pachòn in Chile. The instrument was delivered in November 2003.
Using the ALTAIR adaptive optics system with the Near-Infrared Imager (NIRI) on Gemini North, a Canadian/Gemini team has probed the red stellar content near the disk plane of the starburst galaxy M-82.  The results of this study indicate that these stars are relatively young and were probably formed as a result of the last interaction with its galactic neighbor M-81 about 1 billion years ago.  More details here.

Commissioning of GNIRS is progressing swiftly toward a goal of first community science use in semester 2004B. GNIRS is a near-infrared spectrograph (1-5 microns) designed and fabricated at NOAO in Tucson and is slated to begin system verification in March. Learn about GNIRS and its commissioning progress.

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New Horizons, New Science, New Tools

Learn more about Gemini's plans
for the middle of this decade and beyond

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Announcement of Opportunity for Laser Procurements

Procurement of a 10-20W class sodium laser
for the Keck I telescope adaptive optics
  • Foreseen in March 2004

Procurement of a 50W class sodium laser
for the Gemini South adaptive optics

  • Foreseen in March 2004

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