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To reach the desired instrument performance GPI is constrained both in the suitable weather conditions and the elevation of the target being observed.
The spectroscopic accuracy has been evaluated using the white dwarf orbiting HD 8049 discovered by Zurlo et al (2013), believed to have a temperature of 18800+/-2000 K. Observations were performed during the second commissioning run on December 12, 2013. The recipes, calibration files, and reduced cubes used to create the plots in this section are available as part of the first light data release. For this data, zero-point offsets to the wavelength solutions were determined using an Argon arclamp image taken immediately after the exposures.
GPI limiting magnitudes are determined by several components, the AO WFS (I-band), the LOWFS (H-band), and the IFS (selected filter). In addition the observing conditions add another layer of limits. Thus the brightest of the science object is limited in I band from the AOWFS, in H-band from the LOWFS (not a constraint in DIRECT mode as then no coronographic mask is used and no LOWFS is possible).
The Gemini South laser suffered a fault towards the end of the last GeMS run in February. The laser power has been lost to a level that prohibits useful science. Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of the laser team, we were not able to recover the laser during the run. The problem has been identified and a plan is under development to recover, which involves replacement of key hardware parts and realignment of the system. Internal and external specialists will collaborate to complete this work and return the laser to the level required to do science.
After a very involved repair to a drive unit for the shutter of the Gemini North dome, Gemini North is back on the sky for regular science operations. See more at: www.gemini.edu/node/12160 .
The call for Early Science programs using the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is now open, with full information posted at http://www.gemini.edu/sciops/instruments/gpi/gpi-early-science/call-proposals. Proposals for shared-risk observations are due February 28, for execution in April.
The repairs to the shutter drive unit on the exterior of the Gemini North dome appear to be reaching the home stretch with a plan to reinstall the repaired drive unit on Monday, February 10th and be back on the sky on February 12th. As always, this is assuming the weather allows the work to progress as planned and no further complications occur.