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Past Development and the Aspen Process

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This page includes links to the reports and summaries of the past instrument planning meetings. In particular, information about "Aspen" instruments is available from this page. The instruments described below are at various stages of development.

Information about instruments that are nearing completion or are in the process of being commissioned is found on the main Instrumentation page and on the Future Instrumentation Page

The Aspen Instrument Program

In June 2003, representatives from all the Gemini partner nations convened in Aspen, Colorado to define the observations and capabilities that would be required to answer the most fundamental questions in astronomy in the subsequent decade. The following links summarize the results of that meeting:



The following instruments are currently considered as part of the Aspen program.

  • Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) (External team web pages).
    GPI is being built by a large international team led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The LLNL team won the Extreme AO Coronagraph (ExAOC) conceptual design study competition, and are now proceeding towards construction of this ambitious instrument. GPI is scheduled to be completed and delivered to Gemini-South around the beginning of 2011. GPI will then be used to discover and characterize planets around young stars.
  • Wide Field Fiber Multi-Object Spectrograph (WFMOS) (PDF Feasibility study report).
    Gemini is funding two competing teams to conduct conceptual design studies for WFMOS based on the ideas originally explored by the Feasibility Study team. WFMOS is a ground-breaking multi-object spectrograph that will be built in close collaboration with the Japanese and located on the Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea. It is expected that the conceptual design studies will be conducted in 2008.
  • Ground Layer Adaptive Optics (GLAO) (PDF Feasibility study report).
    After the Feasibility Study team showed that a GLAO system could significantly improve observing efficiency by providing 20-percentile seeing 80% of the time across the full Gemini field of view, Gemini commissioned a ground-layer site monitoring campaign to characterize the turbulence on Mauna Kea in the lowest 100 m. That survey is nearing completion. When complete, the data will be fed into computer models generated by the Feasibility Study team to fully quantify the impact a GLAO system would have on the Gemini-North telescope.

Related Community Meetings

  • In November 2005, Gemini and Subaru hosted a joint meeting in Waikoloa, Hawaii to discuss Dark Energy and the potential for WFMOS and HyperSuprime Cam to illuminate the dark universe.
  • In June 2007, Gemini helped sponsor a meeting in Berkeley, California that addressed topics related to high-contrast coronagraphy and the direct detection of extra-solar planets and circumstellar disks.
  • In May 2008, Gemini and Subaru hosted a conference in Waikoloa, Hawaii to explore the wide range of science that will be enabled by WFMOS. Cosmology Near and Far: Science with WFMOS

Historical Documents and Announcements

The previous generation of instruments were developed following a meeting of the Gemini partners in Abingdon, U.K. Details of that meeting and the rationale for the instruments that came from it can be found here:



The following links provide access to documents related to past instrument development activities, such as calls for proposals for Aspen instrument design studies.

Gemini Observatory Participants