Gemini e-Newscast #20 -- September 23, 2009

by jeckersley

First light for FLAMINGOS-2

As part of on-going acceptance testing, the near-infrared imager and spectrograph FLAMINGOS-2 obtained first light images on the Gemini South telescope. The image quality from the instrument and telescope together is good, and the longslit spectroscopy mode was also used. A number of significant milestones must be reached before FLAMINGOS-2 will be available for Gemini community scientific use. One severe limitation now is the lack of a science-grade detector. Several more observing runs are planned through the end of the current semester to fully commission the instrument and integrate it with the telescope, including tests of a new detector. See For more information and pretty pictures.

Gemini prepares for LCROSS

LCROSS, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, is ready to hit a permanently-shadowed crater near the Moon's south pole on October 9 at 11:30UT, looking for water. The impact will eject material from the crater's surface, and Gemini North will follow the emission with NIFS to assess the particle size and surface density distributions in a program led by Diane Wooden of the NASA Ames Research Center. The first 30 seconds after impact are critical, so to prepare for the challenges of following the impact site within the 3 arcsecond field of view, the research team and Gemini staff have been rehearsing the observations.

2010A Call for Proposals

The 2010A Call for Proposals has been issued, with proposals due September 30. The instruments available for use on Gemini North are GMOS-N, NIRI, NIFS, ALTAIR, and MICHELLE. On Gemini South, GMOS-S, NICI, T-ReCS, and Phoenix are available. Six instruments on the Subaru Telescope are now available through exchange time. For more information, see