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Successful Upgrade, New Instrument Scientist and Other News

This "Hot News" article describes a few GNIRS changes during the second half of 2005 including engineering work, a new Gemini instrument scientist, a GNIRS talk at the Tucson NGO meeting and a data reduction note.

Engineering Upgrade - No More Spots!

GNIRS underwent a major engineering "intervention" in July-Sept 2005. The work had two primary objectives (as well as a number of secondary ones): 1) replacement of the forward lenses in the short cameras with the radio-active coatings to eliminate the radiation events on the detector; and 2) installation of 3 new filters-- a cross-dispersed filter with improved blue sensitivity (replacing the old one), and two narrowband acquisition filters (H_2 at 2.12um and PAH at 3.29 µm). With the expert help of mechanical technician Ron George and GNIRS principal investigator Jay Elias from Tucson, along with the hard work of several Gemini engineers and scientists, the operation was completely successful.  Figure 1 illustrates the improvement in long exposures without the bothersome radiation events.  More information about the upgrade can be found in the GNIRS talk at the Tucson NGO meeting [9Mb, powerpoint file] in November. Mechanical repair work on the OIWFS gimbal mechanism was also completed during the engineering period, and appears to have been successful, however additional software and integration work remain before the OIWFS will be available for regular use.

GNIRS image with radiation eventsGNIRS image without radiation events

Figure 1. Two 900 second GNIRS IFU exposures, taken Dec 2004 (with old camera lenses) and Nov 2005 (after camera lens replacement). No more spots!

Between the engineering work, PWFS2 problems that put it out of service for much of October, and more than our fair share of lousy Spring weather, we got a late start on the GNIRS queue programs in 2005B. However, we've made up for lost time recently and are now happy to report that we have completed all of GNIRS Band 1 observations that have been observable so far, including DD and rollover, and we are making good progress on Band 2, as well as Band 3.

Other News

  • Greg Doppmann has taken over the position of GNIRS Instrument Scientist as of November 2005. Greg joined Gemini as a Science Fellow in September 2004 with considerable NIR spectroscopy experience and has been working with GNIRS since his arrival.
  • Have a look at Greg's talk on GNIRS at the Tucson NGO meeting [9Mb, powerpoint file] in November 2005. He discusses the recent upgrade results and GNIRS Phase II issues, among other things.
  • Due to the change in the cameras, two new database files are needed for reducing GNIRS short camera data with the Gemini/GNIRS IRAF package. More information is available in an email sent to GNIRS PIs. The updated files will be included in the next IRAF release.

Created December 12, 2005; Bernadette Rodgers