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Gemini e-Newscast #25 -- April 6, 2010

Apr 6, 2010

A young planetary-mass companion of a brown dwarf

Identifying more complete and more representative populations of substellar companions to stars and brown dwarfs is an essential step to understand their formation and evolution broadly. Kamen Todorov (Pennsylvania State University, US) and collaborators have found a 5--10 Jupiter-mass companion to a brown dwarf using direct imaging with NIRI and ALTAIR on Gemini North and the Hubble Space Telescope. The young age (less than about 1 million years) of the Taurus star-forming region in which the system is located suggests that the companion formed through cloud fragmentation, rather than the typically-slower process of core accretion. See for more information at the Gemini website. Complete results will be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters (

Near-infrared image of a brown dwarf and its companion (left) from NIRI/ALTAIR on Gemini North. In the right panel, the emission from the brown dwarf primary has been subtracted. Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA and K. Todorov and K. Luhman (Pennsylvania State University).

Gemini data workshop July 19-22

Gemini Observatory and the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory are organizing a Gemini Data Workshop July 19-22, 2010, in Tucson, Arizona. Registration is free and open to anyone. The workshop will cover the basics of astronomical data reduction, followed by breakout sessions that then focus on specific Gemini instruments or capabilities. More information and registration are available at the workshop website:

Laser arrives on Cerro Pachon

The laser for the Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GeMS) has arrived at Gemini South. The laser bench enclosure has been set up in the clean room in the instrument lab on Cerro Pachon. The engineering team will be busy in the lab for the next month, before the laser moves to the service enclosure for integration with the telescope.

Laser delivery to Gemini South at Cerro Pachon.
Image Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA.

Optical alignment of the laser bench.
Image Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA.

Laser bench enclosure.
Image Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA.