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SCORPIO: A New Name for a Powerful Future Gemini Instrument

, Updated

OCTOCAM, a next generation astronomical instrument for Gemini South has a new name: SCORPIO.

SCORPIO, which stands for the Spectrograph and Camera for Observations of Rapid Phenomena in the Infrared and Optical, is currently progressing rapidly through its design phase. In the words of project Principal Investigator Massimo Robberto, “This new name captures the capabilities of the innovative and powerful future Instrument, operating over a very broad wavelength range from the visible to near-infrared light.” The instrument also features both imaging and spectroscopic capabilities as well as fast readout modes.

Scorpio is the latin word for scorpion, a primarily nocturnal arachnid that has eight legs, like the number of channels (wavelength windows) available on the instrument. Scorpio is also a zodiac constellation that, in the winter, passes overhead at the Gemini South telescope facility where it will be used.

This name change coincides with the instrument development moving into its Critical Design stage. The project remains on budget and schedule and is slated for commissioning in 2022.

Please direct any further questions on this announcement to
Stephen Goodsell: sgoodsell”at”gemini.edu

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