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PI Contact

Gaetano Sivo
Associate Scientist
NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory
Tel: +56 (51) 220-5642

Adaptive Optics

The GNAO project has made remarkable progress in the first year of the NSF award. GNAO held a conceptual Design Review, September 26th and 27th 2019 in Hilo, HI. Interested vendors attended to learn more about the project, gain an understanding of future opportunities and attend a special question and answer session on the AURA Gemini procurement process.

The main subsystems of GNAO are described in the following:

Laser Guide Star Facility
Eduardo Marin
The Laser Guide Star Facility (LGSF) implements the function to provide laser guide stars. The LGSF includes all the hardware (beam transfer optics, lasers, laser launch telescopes, fast steering mechanisms, jitter mirrors, shutters, laser pointing camera, etc.) and associated control software.

Adaptive Optics System
Celia Blain
The Adaptive Optics System (AOS) implements the function to correct the science field. The AOS includes the Adaptive Optics Bench hardware (tip tilt mirror, deformable mirrors, bench shutters, calibration sources, ADC, NGS, LGS, and truth sensor detectors, etc., and possibly a turbulence simulators) and associated control software.

Real Time Controller
William Rambold
The Real Time Controller (RTC) implements the function to reconstruct the wavefront. The RTC uses wavefront sensor data from the AOS to generate high order and low order corrections, which are used to control the tip-tilt mirror and deformable mirrors in the AOS. It also controls the high rate pointing in the LGSF. The RTC can receive either NGS centroids or direct NGS detector data from the AOS to compute centroids. Also like GeMS, the RTC offloads slow tip-tilt, focus, and coma corrections to the secondary mirror, and sends primary mirror figure corrections to the TCS. 

System Controller
William Rambold
The System Controller implements the function to control the GNAO system. The System Controller acts as the overall system coordinator, directing system commands to the appropriate subsystem and sequencing operations that involve multiple subsystems. It accepts commands from the TCC/Seqexec via a standard EPICS interface and hosts the user interfaces that the Observer and Telescope Operator will employ to configure and operate the system.


In early November, the GEMMA (Gemini in the Era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy) project brought together science communications professionals to explore the unique opportunities and challenges of communicating Multi-Messenger and Time-Domain Astronomy, two rapidly growing fields in astronomy. Funded by the US National Science Foundation, this communications summit hosted more than 30 participants for two days at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, an AURA-managed facility. 

Read all about it here:

The group of approximately 30 communicators attending the GEMMA Communications Summit held on November 7–8 2019 in Baltimore, USA. At the back (L–R) are: Martin Hendry (LIGO), Richard Terrile (JPL), Christine Pulliam (STScI/NASA), Swati Sureka (NSF), Matthew Dudley (Johns Hopkins University), Ivy Kupec (NSF), Peter Edmonds (Chandra/NASA), Janice Harvey (NSF’s OIR Lab/Gemini), Dave Finley (NRAO), Iris Nijman (NRAO), Joshua Chamot (NSF), Robert Hurt (Caltech/IPAC), Elizabeth Landau (JPL), Gordon Squires (TMT), Whitney Clavin (Caltech), Shari Lifson (AURA), Ethan Siegel (Blogger, Forbes), Megan Watzke (Chandra/NASA), Ranpal Gill (LSST), Amanda Kocz (GMT), Peter Michaud (holding NSF logo, NSF’s OIR Lab/Gemini), Janesse Brewer (facilitator, 23.4 Degrees), Ray Villard (STScI/NASA), John Blakeslee (NSF’s OIR Lab/Gemini) Front (L–R): Lars Lindberg Christensen (NSF’s OIR Lab), Rick Fienberg (AAS), Pamela Gay (PSI), Heidi Hammel (AURA), Chris Davis (NSF). Missing are Nancy Levenson (STScI) and Hussein Jirdeh (STScI/NASA). Credit: NSF’s OIR Lab/NSF/AURA