Gemini In The Era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy

The GEMMA program is funded by a multi-million dollar award from the National Science Foundation to advance the leadership role of Gemini Observatory in the era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy. The program has been designed to maximize synergies with the transformative facilities coming online in the near future. The projects within GEMMA specifically focus on the areas of high spatial resolution and rapid-response astronomy.


Adaptive Optics

The Gemini North Adaptive Optics (GNAO) upgrade project will deliver the first queue-operated multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) system in the northern hemisphere. The GNAO effort will build on experience with the Gemini Multi-conjugate System (GeMS) at Gemini South, but it will employ the latest technologies for improved performance in support of the next generation of AO-assisted instruments at Gemini North. With a corrected field-of-view of about 2 arcmin and spatial resolution similar to that of JWST, GNAO will take advantage of Maunakea’s outstanding conditions for AO performance and establish GN as the premier ground-based facility for wide-field AO studies.

Time Domain

The Time Domain Astronomy (TDA) project will develop the infrastructure for incorporating Gemini’s telescopes into the Astronomical Event Observatory Network (AEON), an efficient new system for following up transients identified by LSST, LIGO, and other time-domain and multi-messenger surveys. The goal of this effort is to maximize Gemini’s contributions to discoveries in the TDA era, and Gemini will provide the largest aperture within AEON to enable studies of the faintest, highest priority targets. The TDA project also includes development of automated data pipelines for rapid delivery of science-quality reduced data so that users can assess the outcome of their observations in real time.


GEMMA enables Gemini Observatory to expand on its legacy of ambitious Public Information and Outreach (PIO) initiatives. The basis for this expanded outreach is multi-messenger astronomy (MMA) and the role of Gemini and other ground-based facilities in this new discovery arena. Specifically, the GEMMA PIO initiatives include a multimedia planetarium program to illustrate MMA concepts, classroom materials to promote careers in related science and technology fields, training workshops for science writers, and an ambitious “MMA summit” to establish a charter for the public communication of MMA concepts and discoveries.

Big Ideas

Tell us about your ideas for scientific studies that may be enabled by the GNAO and TDA efforts described above, and any specific requirements that must be met (particularly in the case of GNAO) to make those studies possible.