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Future Instrumentation & Current Development
Gen4#3, for Generation 4 Number 3, is the current generic name for the next new instrument to start at Gemini. As part of the process to determining what kind of instrument Gen 4#3 would be, we launched the Gemini Instrument Feasibility Studies (GIFS), requesting proposals for science cases and corresponding instrument feasibility demonstrations consistent with the STAC's desire to produce an instrument of broad capability that will keep Gemini competitive in the era of large scale surveys.
From the eight submitted proposals, we selected four studies to pursue. They are (alphabetically) GEONIS, GMOX, MOVIES, and OCTOCAM. More information on each of these studies can be found here. Each study gave a status presentation at the Toronto 2015 Future & Science of Gemini Observatory meeting, June 14th to 18th in Toronto. The meeting provided a unique opportunity to interact with each team in one setting.
Initial Feasibility Study reports were presented to Gemini in August 2015 and a two-week review was held in Hilo Hawai'i between 21 September and 2 October 2015. During this period, the four study teams, the Gemini staff working on the project, and external stakeholders and experts came together to review and discuss components of the studies. Each of the four teams attended an individual two-day review session scheduled over the two-week period, made presentations on their study, and received feeback towards their Final Feasibility Study Report due to be presented to Gemini in October 2015.
Gemini has contracted with the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) for the continued design and construction of the Gemini High-resolution Optical SpecTrograph (GHOST). The AAO has, in turn, subcontracted NRC-H for the construction of the spectrograph and The Australian National University (ANU) for instrument software. The project completed its Preliminary Design Review in December 2014 and has started the Critical Design Stage.
We are planning to hold the project's critical design review in early December 2015 and anticipate the instrument being commissioned in 2018. GHOST will provide two-object plus sky spectroscopy with full wavelength coverage from ~360 - 950 nm at resolutions from 50,000 to 75,000.
NGS2 is a project to improve the sky coverage of GeMS by upgrading the current natural guide star sensor. The Natural Guide Star (NGS) Next Generation Sensor (NGS2) team, led by the Australian National University (ANU) held its design review at Mt. Stromlo, Australia from March 24th to 27th 2015. Overall, the review was successful and we have a high degree of confidence that the project will meet the science goals of a 1.5 magnitude boost in sensitivity compared to the current NGS in GeMS. This sensitivity increase will approximately triple sky coverage for GeMS while the NGS2 unit itself is also designed to make the overall system easier to support. We are aiming for installation in 2016A.
For more historical documents concerning past instrument development, including the Aspen Process, please see this page.