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Michelle System Verification Plan

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The following letter is being circulated to the Gemini community as of September 14, 2004.

MICHELLE, a 10-20 microns imager and spectrograph is now permanently moved from UKIRT to Gemini. Queue observing in imaging mode is already under way. Although work remains to improve its performance at Gemini, MICHELLE's spectroscopic observing modes are now working well enough that we feel that they can be made available to the Gemini community. Therefore we are pleased to invite the Gemini community to propose System Verification (SV) programs for MICHELLE SPECTROSCOPY. We anticipate 4 nights of SV time will be made available during January 2005. There is a possibility that a limited number of programs could be observed in early October 2004. (Note that no MICHELLE observing time is scheduled between early October and January).

System verification is the final step of testing prior to general use of the instrument by the Gemini community. It is intended to be "end-to-end" testing, verifying the readiness of the entire system from observation definition to data reduction. It is also intended to exercise the various modes of an instrument and demonstrate to the community, through interesting and challenging science programs, the potential of MICHELLE spectroscopy.

The following summary is extracted from the Gemini SV web page:
"SV observations will be selected by SV team members and approved by the Gemini Director. They will span a wide range of targets and perspectives and the SV teams will be responsible for providing written, in depth assessments of SV observations and mode verification within two months of data acquisition. The data obtained during SV will be made available by ftp to the international Gemini community and the assessments will be published on the Gemini SV web pages. Community participation will help ensure that Gemini + MICHELLE spectroscopy is a success from the first date of scheduled observations."

MICHELLE spectroscopy on Gemini can be considered as having two observing modes:

  • 1. Low resolution (R=100-200) - covering the full 7-13um or 16-24um "windows."
  • 2. Medium-High resolution (R in the range 1,000-40,000) - covering narrow spectral intervals within the 7-13um and 16-24um "windows, using the R=1000 or 3000 gratings and the echelle)."

For both modes we are interested in both point sources and extended objects, and in observations within both the 7-13um and 16-24um wavelength intervals. We anticipate scheduling 2 nights for each mode.

More information about MICHELLE and its capabilities can be found at Note that sensitivity estimates for spectroscopy are available only in table form for some wavelengths, and not in the Integration Time Calculator. You will need to use the table to estimate total time needed for your proposed program.

To submit a program, you must use the 2005A Phase I tool and include observing constraints, target lists, and instrument configuration information. Export the program to an xml file and EMAIL THE XML FILE directly to by October 15, 2004. If you wish your program to be considered for the early October MICHELLE run, you must submit your file by September 24, 2004.

Scientific justifications should be brief and clearly state which modes are being tested. Technical justifications should be complete enough that feasibility can be assessed easily.

PIs seeking Januuary time will be informed of the results of the selection process by November 15, 2004, and Phase II files (using the Observing Tool) for selected programs will need to be completed by December 15.

Disclaimer: Submitting an SV program or even having a SV program selected as high priority does not guarantee that data will be taken. Selection for SV will also be based on the abilities of the proposers to reduce the data and return feedback within a reasonable time. The proprietary period for SV data is two months. PIs and their collaborators will need to provide reduced data for public release.

Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments-- we look forward to hearing from you and reading your proposals.


Scott Fisher ( and Tom Geballe (

Last update September 16, 2004; Scott Fisher and Tom Geballe

Gemini Observatory Participants