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Searching and the Helpdesk

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Lost in the maze of information? There are two routes to finding help:


#1 sign Use the search engine at the top of a page or on our homepage to search the Gemini web pages. If you are having problems specifically with the Gemini data reduction software, please look at the Data Reduction Support page. You may also want to look at the user supported Gemini Data Reduction User Forum.

#2 sign Contact Gemini Observatory and National Gemini Office support staff (see below) by submitting your request for information to the HelpDesk (opened in a new browser window). For more information on what happens next (the workflow), how to update request details and how to re-open a 'resolved' request, please see HelpDesk follow-up. Note there is no longer a Helpdesk interface categorized by Program ID.

The Gemini HelpDesk is the primary means by which individuals can make requests for information to the support staff. The support staff are distributed throughout the Gemini partnership: at the Gemini Observatory, within National Gemini Offices and elsewhere. The HelpDesk system takes care of routing, tracking, escalation and aids in the resolution of requests. You can track the status of your query via the HelpDesk and will be e-mailed when work is done on your request.

In broad terms, the division of responsibilities between Gemini staff and the National Offices is:


  • National Offices
    • Pre-observation (Phase I proposal and Phase II observation definition) and post-observation (data processing) off-site support.
    • First point of contact for user requests, which can be distributed to a wider support network and/or escalated to other National Offices or Gemini staff if necessary (see HelpDesk structure for more details).

  • Gemini
    • Observation execution and on-site support (e.g. via Contact Scientists).
    • Expert support for user requests.


Note that topics such as observing techniques and strategy are best sent direct to your NGO, and not submitted via the Helpdesk.

You should normally receive acknowledgment of your request within three working days. This will normally come from your NGO; if they are unable to resolve the issue it will be escalated, depending upon the type of issue, either to an instrument specialist in another NGO or to staff at the Observatory.

The handover of responsibility, from the National Offices to Gemini, for direct communication with queue and classical applicants occurs upon acceptance of their detailed Phase II programme into the Active Observing Database (see a description of the Phase II process for more details).

See the contents list for further information about how the HelpDesk is structured, who is responsible for responding to your request and to learn more about the HelpDesk system itself.

There is also a copy of the paper (240kB; Gemini preprint #56; Chan & Puxley 2000, SPIE, 4010, 72) and powerpoint presentation (360kB) from SPIE ( Munich 2000) describing the HelpDesk.

Gemini Observatory Participants