The Gemini North Adaptive Optics system, Altair, is currently offline due to problems with its deformable mirror (DM) electronics. Issues with other mechanisms on the optical bench have been resolved, however, we are still working on finding the root cause of the DM electronics failure. We are making progress but still need to test a number of components. We will have more updates by the end of February. Please email your contact scientist if you have any questions or concerns about the potential impact on your program.
2020-Feb-26: Some progress has been made towards identifying the root cause of the DM failure and we are working on potential solutions to fix the problem. We expect to have more information on options and the time frame to fix Altair by mid-March.
2020-Apr-06: Altair is still offline due to intermittent problems with its deformable mirror (DM) electronics. Due to the Corona virus pandemic and observatory closure, troubleshooting is halted until further notice. Prior to the closure of the observatory, we discovered that the cause of the DM problem is due to incorrect demands being seen at the DM controller and is not within the drive electronic cards nor the DM itself. A missing data bit within the data transmission path (Cabling, Reconstructor IO and or DM control boards) is a likely suspect. We hope to continue our troubleshooting work on ALTAIR as soon as we return to normal operations.
2021-Jan-15: Altair has been repaired and is now in a state where it can be used in Natural Guide Star (NGS) mode. We will resume offering Altair in NGS mode starting with the upcoming Fast Turnaround cycle. Further work is needed before we can offer Altair in Laser Guide Star (LGS) mode.