Flamingos-I Hot News
26 October 2001
After nearly seven weeks of delays caused by damage incurred in shipment, Flamingos-I was successfully installed on the Gemini South telescope on 20 September. The installation was followed by 3 nights of commissioning in which the pupil alignment and focus, abbreviated instrument characterization and tests of the standard observing modes and software were completed. Initial results from the imaging commissioning were encouraging, with measured image quality often better than 0.4" using closed-loop guiding on short exposures of standard star fields.
Unfortunately, due to the limited amount of time that remained this semester, commissioning of the long-slit and multi-object spectroscopy modes has been postponed until mid-2002 when Flamingos-I is due to return to Gemini South. The impact of a short dewar hold time (8-12 hrs) and detector temperature instability on spectroscopic observations has yet to be assessed. The Demonstration Science program for multiobject spectroscopy has therefore been delayed until early 2002B.
Flamingos-I was reinstalled on the telescope on 2 October and the remaining commissioning tasks in preparation for science imaging were completed. Thirteen nights were scheduled for science observations after discussions with the University of Florida team enabled an extension of Flamingos' stay in Chile by 4 additional nights.
Queue science observations started on 4 October with median delivered images below 0.5 arcsec FWHM. Two of the thirteen nights were lost completely to weather. During the remaining eleven nights at least some data were obtained for almost all scheduled Band 1 imaging programs. (See the queue status page for more details). Flamingos was removed from the telescope on 17 October and was shipped to Tucson. It is expected to return to Gemini South in mid-2002.
Data processing to assess data quality is now underway and the data will be shipped to PIs within the next few weeks.
Last update October 26, 2001; Michael Ledlow and Phil Puxley