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Gemini e-Newscast #40

Aug 16, 2012

Record-Breaking Star Formation in a Cooling Flow Cluster

Radiative cooling of the intra-cluster medium should lead to cooler, denser gas flowing toward the galaxy cluster's core.  However, until now, evidence for a cluster's galaxies to use that material in star formation has been scarce, with most central galaxies quietly showing older stellar populations.  Multi-wavelength observations of the massive galaxy cluster SPT-CLJ2344-4243, nicknamed the "Phoenix Cluster," now finally show evidence for a classical "cooling flow," with the central galaxy exhibiting a massive starburst (having a star formation rate of 740 solar masses/year). Michael McDonald (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) led the work that is published in Nature.  The team of over 80 people used observations from ten telescopes on the ground and in space, including Gemini South, and suggest that this mode of star formation, although transient, may be significant over the galaxy's lifetime.  More information is available from the Gemini web feature.

Optical (red, green, blue) and ultraviolet (blue) image of center of Phoenix Cluster, and optical images of Abell 2029 and Abell 2052. Top image taken with the NOAO Blanco telescope. Image courtesy of the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Look for GeMS/GSAOI call for System Verification proposals at the end of August

We anticipate announcing the call for System Verification (SV) proposals to use the Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GeMS) with the Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI) the last week of August.  The observations are likely to be executed in December 2012 and January 2013.  Look for the announcement from your National Gemini Office, and full information will be posted on the Gemini web pages.

IRAF "Getting Started" Web Page

The new IRAF Getting Started web page provides just that, a place to start with an overview and examples of using IRAF and the Gemini IRAF package to reduce your Gemini data.  In addition to general IRAF information, you will find links to instrument-specific tutorials and example scripts, along with presentations from recent data reduction workshops.

Presentations from the Gemini Science Meeting

Presentations and posters from the 2012 Gemini Science and User Meeting are linked from the meeting program page.  Catch up on the great science results you may have missed in person, and read about the vision of Gemini's new director, Markus Kissler-Patig!

Chung-Pei Ma (University of California Berkeley) presented recent work measuring the masses of black holes in giant elliptical galaxies.

GMOS Color Imaging Tutorial

For the past 4 years the Australian Gemini Office (AusGO) has run the Australian Gemini School Astronomy Contest, offering Australian high school students the opportunity to suggest a target to be imaged with GMOS-South for scientific and aesthetic reasons. Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) has assisted AusGO in producing all the final contest images. He has produced a tutorial exercise demonstrating how the 2009 image of the “Glowing Eye” planetary nebula (below) was created, and giving anyone the opportunity to try making their own from the input images using the “FITS Liberator” software and Photoshop package. Contest coordinator Chris Onken has produced a similar exercise for use with the free GIMP package. Users are encouraged to upload their own results to a Flickr gallery. The tutorial is available from the AusGO.

NGC 6751, the winning target in the 2009 Australian Gemini School Astronomy Contest.