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Phoenix to be removed in January 2011

Phoenix has been a visitor instrument on Gemini South since the beginning of science operations in 2002.  It has been scientifically productive, with an active user community, and the observatory is grateful to NOAO for the long-term loan. However, Gemini is about to commission new Gemini South instrumentation and is actively engaged in a transition to operations without the UK as a partner.  Together, these fundamentally limit both available staff effort and instrument ports, and Gemini can no longer afford to offer Phoenix for regular use.

Semester 2011A in particular is planned to be a busy one with a significant amount of instrument commissioning.  Specifically, this work includes introducing Canopus, the adaptive optics optical bench that is part of the Gemini Multi-conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GeMS), which will occupy the port currently occupied by Phoenix.  We remain sensitive to the interests of the Phoenix user community.  If commissioning plans change significantly, we will re-evaluate this decision.