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Gemini and Subaru Telescopes Expand International Collaboration

November 2, 2012

Credit: Gemini Observatory/Neelon Crawford/Polar Fine Arts

Credit: Subaru Observatory

See an article on this time exchange in the journal Nature.

Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and Chile’s Cerro Pachón host some of the world’s most powerful astronomical observatories - with capabilities found nowhere else. Now, with a new sharing agreement inked between the 8-meter Gemini and Subaru telescopes on these sites, astronomers from around the world have even more avenues to explore and understand our universe.

The new time exchange agreement between Gemini and Subaru makes the entire suite of instrumentation available at each observatory open to any astronomer in the countries of the U.S., Japan, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.

“Opening up our major research infrastructures to each other’s community sends a strong signal,” said Gemini Observatory Director Markus Kissler-Patig. “In a world in which communication is made easy, the future of science lies in the concept of crowdsourcing, where we share and distribute our brainpower and creativity globally,” said Kissler-Patig. “Both the Subaru and Gemini communities will profit immensely from sharing the resources. For the Subaru community, the agreement opens the Southern Sky and some of the finest adaptive optics capabilities that Gemini offers; for the Gemini community it opens access to the world leading wide-field imaging and spectroscopy that Subaru has developed. This is a clear win-win agreement that supports the very collaborative spirit between the observatories on Mauna Kea.”

In addition, Japanese astronomers will now have the option of observing using Gemini’s target of opportunity mode and queue scheduling model where observations are taken when conditions are optimal and do not require astronomers to travel to the observatory to obtain data. For the Subaru community, this opens new possibilities for monitoring observations or responding to urgent new discoveries.

Astronomers will be able to take advantage of the full exchange almost immediately, with the proposals they have already submitted to be reviewed for observations beginning in 2013.

This formal agreement is based on successful, but informal exchanges in the past, but as Kissler-Patig points out, “This will expand the level of engagement of our users and allow them to better match the science they wish to do with the strengths of each facility and its instruments. It will foster stronger international collaborations, a key to progress in science. It will support our quest of exploring the universe and sharing its wonders.”

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