RPT-PS-G0075: Future Gemini Instrumentation

Report of the First Gemini Instrumentation Workshop

Editors: F. Gillett, G. Walker, R. Davies, J. Gallagher, S. Strom

Abingdon, Oxfordshire

January 18-19, 1997

Table of Contents



  1. Introduction
  2. Science Issues and Opportunities
    1. Stars and Planetary Systems
    2. Star Formation and the ISM
    3. Galactic Structure and Nearby Galaxies
    4. Formation and Evolution of Galaxies and Cosmologies
  3. Recommended Elements of the On-Going Instrumentation Program
    1. Recommended New Instrumentation Capabilities
    2. Recommended Upgrades to Phase I Instrumentation Capabilities
    3. Shared Instrumentation
  4. References
  5. Acknowledgments


On a cold weekend over the 18-19 January 1997, astronomers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, United Kingdom and the United States met in Abingdon, just outside Oxford, England. Amongst the Medieval Abbey grounds and English gardens of Cosener's House, with swans drifting slowly by on the river, these forty-two astronomers settled down to chart the future scientific direction for the Gemini 8M Telescopes instrumentation program. The intent of this first instrumentation workshop was to ask what programs could and should be done on these two new telescopes in the early part of the next Century and how should these potential science programs impact our planning for future instruments?

The workshop split up into four groups, 'Stars and Planetary Systems', 'Star Formation and the Interstellar Medium', 'Galactic Structure and Nearby Galaxies' and the 'Formation and Evolution of Galaxies and Cosmologies.' Over the course of the next two days, in the sessions, over lunch, over dinner and in Pubs across Abingdon, potential Gemini observers debated and argued on where astronomy was going in the next century. In one group I heard a colleague announce, "everything interesting in astronomy happens at the one parsec scale", while in the session next door I listened as it was confidently declared that "the Ho problem is dead, we know the answer to within the experimental errors, lets move on"-- a heated debate followed.

What I found most remarkable about this "Abingdon Process" was that by the end of the workshop on Sunday, after all the arguments and debates were over, a real consensus emerged on the future directions for the Gemini 8M Telescopes instrumentation program. It is this consensus, spanning all six national astronomical communities making up the Gemini partnership that is described in these proceedings. It is a tribute to the collegiality of our community, the patience and perseverance of our session Chairs and to the hospitality of the UK Gemini Project Office that this workshop was such a success.

Matt Mountain, Director


  1. D'Antona, F. and Mazzitelli, I., 1994, Ap.J. (Supplement), 90, 467
  2. Hillenbrand 1997 (to be published in Ap.J., May 1997)
  3. Jannuzi, B.T., Elston, R., Schmidt, G.D., Smith, P.S., and Stockman, H.S., 1995, Ap.J., 454, L111
  4. Lu and Sargent, 1996, Ap.J., 472, 5009
  5. Mathieu, R.D., Adams, F.C., and Latham, D.W., 1991, AJ, 101, 2184
  6. Solf, J. and Böhm, K.H., 1993, Ap.J., 410, L31