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Future Instrumentation & Current Development



Gen4#3, for Generation 4 Number 3, is the current generic name for the next new instrument to start at Gemini. As part of the process to determining what kind of instrument Gen 4#3 would be, we launched the Gemini Instrument Feasibility Studies (GIFS), requesting proposals for science cases and corresponding instrument feasibility demonstrations consistent with the STAC's desire to produce an instrument of broad capability that will keep Gemini competitive in the era of large scale surveys.

From the eight submitted proposals, we selected four studies to pursue. They are (alphabetically) GEONIS, GMOX, MOVIES, and OCTOCAM. More information on each of these studies can be found here.

Each study will give a status presentation at the Toronto 2015 Future & Science of Gemini Observatory meeting, June 14th to 18th in Toronto. The meeting will provide a unique opportunity to interact with each team in one setting. Each team's final study report is due in October 2015.  


Gemini High-resolution Optical SpecTrograph (GHOST)

Gemini has contracted with the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) for the continued design and construction of the Gemini High-resolution Optical SpecTrograph (GHOST). The AAO has, in turn, subcontracted NRC-H for the construction of the spectrograph and The Australian National University (ANU) for instrument software. The project completed its Preliminary Design Review in December 2014 and has started the Critical Design Stage.

We are planning to hold the project's critical design review in early December 2015 and anticipate the instrument being commissioned in 2018. GHOST will provide two-object plus sky spectroscopy with full wavelength coverage from ~360 - 1000 nm at resolutions from 50,000 to 75,000.



Gemini Remote Access to CFHT ESPaDOnS Spectrograph (GRACES) – GRACES is a collaboration between CFHT, National Research Council of Canada - Herzberg (NRC-H), and Gemini that started as a experiment to combine the large collecting area of the Gemini North telescope with the high resolving power of the ESPaDOnS spectrograph at CFHT to deliver high resolution optical spectroscopy. The team successfully employed a commercial fiber, 270m in length, to bring light from Gemini to ESPaDOnS, resulting in  R ~ 50,000 echelle spectroscopy between 400 and 1,000 nm, with measured throughput redward of 550 nm, meeting or exceeding that of currently available high-resolution spectrographs on other 8-10 m class telescopes.

Since the successful completion of Phase 1 of the GRACES experiment, the GRACES team has been working to make CFHT a bit easier to operate and a bit more capable as well. We purchased a new enclosure for GRACES and have started installation. The team has also redesigned a mount to remove some light obscuration and are recoating two optical elements for increased throughput. The team is finalizing a few operational and software issues to make GRACES easier to operate. Observers requested 260 hours of time on GRACES in 2015B representing 13% of the total instrument demand.

For more information please visit the ESPaDOnS webpage at CFHT, and the GRACES page here.

GRACES - A collaboration between Gemini, CFHT, and NRC-H, to feed the efficient ESPaDOnS spectrograpg at CFHT with higher photon flux obtained from the 8m Gemini North telescope.



NGS2 is a project to improve the sky coverage of GeMS by upgrading the current natural guide star sensor. The Natural Guide Star (NGS) Next Generation Sensor (NGS2) team, led by the Australian National University (ANU) held its design review at Mt. Stromlo, Australia from March 24th to 27th 2015. Overall, the review was successful and we have a high degree of confidence that the project will meet the science goals of a 1.5 magnitude boost in sensitivity compared to the current NGS in GeMS. This sensitivity increase will approximately triple sky coverage for GeMS while the NGS2 unit itself is also designed to make the overall system easier to support. We are aiming for installation in 2016A.


For more historical documents concerning past instrument development, including the Aspen Process, please see this page