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Instrument Availability and Target Accessibility: 2008A

Instrument Availability and Target Accessibility: 2008A


This page provides best estimates, at the time of the Call for Proposals, of instrument availability and corresponding target (RA, dec) restrictions for 2008A.

General

Instrument Changes: As there are more instruments than the number of available ports on each telescope, instrument swaps will be required. Therefore not all instruments will be available for the entire semester. However, whenever possible instrument swaps will be scheduled to minimize impact on the queue. In other words, instrument swaps will be driven by demand as much as possible and so the final schedule will not be made until after the 2008A programs are known. Nevertheless, it may be the case that certain targets or entire programs will not be feasible once the final schedule is determined, at ITAC or thereafter. No instrument changes on the Instrument Support Structure are permitted during classical runs.

Gemini North

At Gemini North, NIRI and GMOS-N will remain on their side-looking ports and be available throughout the semester, except during the mirror coating in June. NIFS and Michelle share the up-looking port. It is expected that NIFS will be available from February to early April, and Michelle from early April to early June. In June the telescope will be closed for mirror coating, and in July we plan to commission GNIRS on this port. There are no special restrictions on target availability for GMOS-N, NIFS, NIRI or Michelle.

Observations requiring the Laser Guide Star (LGS) system are restricted by the limitation that the LGS must be used at or above 40 degrees elevation. How this translates into RA and dec restrictions is indicated in the figure below. In addition, because of the requirement to obtain advance approval of all telescope pointings, it is not possible to use LGS with Rapid Response Target of Opportunity observations (those requiring observation within 24 hours). Standard ToO LGS observations are allowed; however, targets must be defined at least 8 days in advance of the start of the LGS observing block in which the observations are desired.

Figure 1 displays the accessibility of targets as a function of RA (horizontal axis) and Declination (vertical axis) at Gemini North for the 2008A semester. The dark gray area indicates the restriction on LGS observations. The larger light gray area indicates sky positions that are above 2.5 airmasses for at least 2 hours on at least 7 days of the semester. Targets outside this area should not be requested in 2008A. However, these represent the minimum criteria for scheduling an observation in the queue (or classically), and proposers with targets very close to the extremes are advised to consider carefully other factors such as the amount of time needed on the source, the observing conditions required and the maximum airmass acceptable for the observation.

GN Target Accessibility

Figure 1: Target accessibility at Gemini North during semester 2008A.

Gemini South

At Gemini South, GMOS-S will remain on its side-looking port and T-ReCS on the up-looking port throughout the semester. Phoenix will be mounted on the AO, or "light" port and NICI on the other side port at the start of the semester. Either of these instruments may be displaced or rotated during the semester for Flamingos-2 and/or MCAO and GSAOI commissioning, depending on both science demand and new instrument commissioning schedules. No RA restrictions on any of the instruments are envisioned at this time.

Figure 2 displays the accessibility of targets as a function of RA (horizontal axis) and Declination (vertical axis) at Gemini South for the 2008A semester. The large gray area indicates sky positions above airmass 2.5 for at least 2 hours on at least 7 days during the semester. Targets outside this area should not be requested in 2008A. However, these represent the minimum criteria for scheduling an observation in the queue (or classically), and proposers with targets very close to the extremes are advised to consider carefully other factors such as the amount of time needed on the source, the observing conditions required and the maximum airmass acceptable for the observation.

GS Target Accessibility

Figure 2: Target accessibility at Gemini South during semester 2008A.



Last update 30 August, 2007; Sandy Leggett