Gemini South Earthquake Update

by xzhang ()

On September 16th, 2015, La Serena was hit by a magnitude ~8.3 earthquake at 19:54 local time, with the epicenter about 150 km from La Serena. Fortunately, Gemini staff at the Cerro Pachón summit and in La Serena were all fine. Our thoughts go out to the people that lost their lives and homes due to the quake and the following tsunami that strongly impacted the coastal areas.

We are pleased to announce that good progress has been made in recovering the Gemini South telescope, and we will begin on-sky testing Saturday, September 26th. The on-sky tests will confirm whether all is okay, or whether some further adjustments are needed before we resume science observations.

Finally, much of this work was expedited thanks to lessons learned at the Gemini North telescope, which sustained more significant damage during a magnitude ~6.7 earthquake on October 15th, 2006.