From Gemini Observatory: “Record-Breaking Protocluster Takes Fast-track”

NOAO

Gemini Observatory
From Gemini Observatory

September 26, 2019

Science Contacts:

Yuichi Harikane
JSPS fellow
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Mitaka, Japan
Email: yuichi.harikane”at”nao.ac.jp
Desk: +81 80 6914 7660

Chien-Hsiu Lee
Assistant Scientist
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ
Email: lee”at”noao.edu
Desk: (520) 318-8386

Media Contacts:

Peter Michaud
Public Information and Outreach Manager
Gemini Observatory, Hilo, Hawaiʻi
Email: pmichaud”at”gemini.edu
Desk: (808) 974-2510
Cell: (808) 936-6643

Alyssa Grace
Public Information and Outreach Assistant
Gemini Observatory, Hilo, Hawaiʻi
Email: agrace”at”gemini.edu
Desk: (808) 974-2531

Hideaki Fujiwara
Public Information Officer/Scientist
Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Hilo, Hawaiʻi
Email: hideaki”at”naoj.org
Desk: (808) 934-5922

The discovery of the most distant large-scale cluster of galaxies in the very young Universe has astronomers puzzling over how it formed so rapidly.

1
The red objects are zoomed-in figures of the 12 galaxies found in the most distant protocluster. Six of these galaxies were found by Gemini Observatory. Credit: NAOJ/Harikane et al.

Crucial observations by a collaboration of telescopes including Gemini Observatory, Subaru Telescope, and W. M. Keck Observatory, all on Hawaii’s Maunakea, have helped an international team of astronomers to discover the most distant cosmic collection of galaxies caught in the act of forming in the early Universe.


NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


NAOJ/Subaru Telescope at Mauna Kea Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level


Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

Known as z660D, this puzzling protocluster — a large and scattered collection of young gas-rich galaxies — is feverishly creating stars some 13 billion light years away. It is the most distant large-scale structure of galaxies ever detected. Full details are published in the 30 September 2019 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

“This discovery suggests that large-scale structures already existed when our Universe was only about 800 million years old,” explained lead author Yuichi Harikane from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. “That’s just 6% of the Universe’s current age of 13.8 billion years. In addition to its impressive age, this protocluster is in the fast lane to formation.”

“As we continue to find rare and essential objects like this protocluster of galaxies in the early history of our universe, collaboration of major facilities often becomes necessary,” added Chris Davis of the National Science Foundation, which provides support for the international Gemini Observatory. “Big telescopes can bring something unique to the table. In Gemini’s case, optical spectroscopy has always been a great strength and a powerful tool for discovery.”

The study began with a wide-field search for protocluster candidates using the wide-field Hyper Suprime-Cam imager on the 8-meter Subaru telescope on Maunakea, Hawai‘i.

NAOJ Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam

“During the survey the team encountered z660D, where galaxies are 15 times more concentrated than average,” said Chien-Hsiu Lee of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) who participated in the imaging survey. The team then used the sensitive Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on the 8-meter Gemini North telescope also on Maunakea to capture the chemical fingerprints of half of the individual galaxies in the protocluster.

GEMINI/North GMOS

These data, coupled with similar spectroscopic data from the neighboring Keck Observatory and the Magellan Telescope in Chile, confirmed that z660D was unmistakably the most distant protocluster ever detected, lying 13.0 billion light years away.

Las Campanas Clay Magellan telescope, located at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

Low-Dispersion Survey Spectrograph 3 (LDSS-3), mounted on the Magellan Clay telescope in Chile

“Confirmations by Gemini led to Keck follow-up for fainter galaxies in z66OD,” said Harikane. “With Gemini data we confirmed the first six galaxies in the protocluster were indeed present, instead of just being foreground objects and we found the most surprising aspect about this protocluster, the location of its Himiko.”

One of the 12 galaxies in z66OD is a “Himiko” object — an enormous protogalaxy with a huge gas halo caught at the moment of its formation. Masami Ouchi, a team member at National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the University of Tokyo, discovered the first object of this type in 2009 and named it after a legendary queen in ancient Japan.

“It is reasonable to find a giant and massive object like Himiko in a protocluster which is also thought to be massive,” Ouchi said. But what is surprising is that the Himiko in z660D does not lie near the center of the galaxy distribution. “Strangely enough, it lies on the edge, 500 million light years away from the cluster’s center. Deciphering the reason will be key to understanding its role in the formation of the protocluster.”

The galaxies in z66OD appear to be powered by prodigious bursts of star formation. Indeed, the team’s further studies of the galaxies with the Subaru telescope, United Kingdom Infra-Red Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope revealed surprisingly active star formation in the z66OD protocluster. The number of stars forming per year in the protocluster is a startling five times larger than that in other galaxy groupings with similar masses that have been observed in the early Universe. Each galaxy is an efficient star factory, probably due to the large amount of gas (the principal ingredient of stars) that the very massive z660D system provides.

Equally curious is that while previous observations have suggested that protoclusters this early in the universe should contain a massive dusty galaxy, z660D does not appear to have one. “Although we haven’t found such a galaxy in z66OD yet,” commented Seiji Fujimoto, team member at Waseda University, Japan, “future observations, for example with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, should reveal more of the structure of z66OD.”

Until then, objects like z660D pose a formidable challenge to astronomers trying to understand the formation of some of the largest structures in the Universe.

See the full article here .


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Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


Stem Education Coalition

NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

#record-breaking-protocluster-takes-fast-track, #astronomy, #astrophysics, #basic-research, #cosmology, #gemini-observatory, #puzzling-protocluster-z660d

From Gemini Observatory: “Exoplanets Can’t Hide Their Secrets from Innovative New Instrument”

NOAO

Gemini Observatory
From Gemini Observatory

August 29, 2019

Media Contacts:

Peter Michaud
Public Information and Outreach Manager
Gemini Observatory, Hilo, HI
email: pmichaud”at”gemini.edu
Desk: (808) 974-2510
Cell: (808) 936-6643

Alyssa Grace
Public Information and Outreach Assistant
Gemini Observatory, Hilo, HI
email: agrace”at”gemini.edu
Desk: (808) 974-2531

Science Contacts:

Steve B. Howell
Space Science and Astrobiology Division
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
email: steve.b.howell”at”nasa.gov
Desk: (650) 604-4238
Cell: (520) 461-6925

Andrew Stephens
Instrument Scientist
Gemini Observatory, Hilo, HI
email: astephens”at”gemini.edu
Desk: (808) 974-2611

In an unprecedented feat, an American research team discovered hidden secrets of an elusive exoplanet using a powerful new instrument at the 8-meter Gemini North telescope on Maunakea in Hawai‘i [below]. The findings not only classify a Jupiter-sized exoplanet in a close binary star system, but also conclusively demonstrate, for the first time, which star the planet orbits.

The breakthrough occurred when Steve B. Howell of the NASA Ames Research Center and his team used a high-resolution imaging instrument of their design — named ‘Alopeke (a contemporary Hawaiian word for Fox).

2
‘Alopeke at Gemini North

The team observed exoplanet Kepler-13b as it passed in front of (transited) one of the stars in the Kepler-13AB binary star system some 2,000 light years distant. Prior to this attempt, the true nature of the exoplanet was a mystery.

3
Artist’s conception of the Kepler-13AB binary star system as revealed by observations including the new Gemini Observatory data. The two stars (A and B) are large, massive bluish stars (center) with the transiting “hot Jupiter” (Kepler-13b) in the foreground (left corner). Star B and its low mass red dwarf companion star are seen in the background to the right. Credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA/Artwork by Joy Pollard

“There was confusion over Kepler-13b: was it a low-mass star or a hot Jupiter-like world? So we devised an experiment using the sly instrument ‘Alopeke,” Howell said. The research was recently published in The Astronomical Journal. “We monitored both stars, Kepler A and Kepler B, simultaneously while looking for any changes in brightness during the planet’s transit,” Howell explained. “To our pleasure, we not only solved the mystery, but also opened a window into a new era of exoplanet research.”

“This dual win has elevated the importance of instruments like ‘Alopeke in exoplanet research,” said Chris Davis of the National Science Foundation, one of Gemini’s sponsoring agencies. “The exquisite seeing and telescope abilities of Gemini Observatory, as well as the innovative ‘Alopeke instrument made this discovery possible in merely four hours of observations.”

‘Alopeke performs “speckle imaging,” collecting a thousand 60-millisecond exposures every minute. After processing this large amount of data, the final images are free of the adverse effects of atmospheric turbulence — which can bloat, blur, and distort star images.

“About one half of all exoplanets orbit a star residing in a binary system, yet, until now, we were at a loss to robustly determine which star hosts the planet,” said Howell.

The team’s analysis revealed a clear drop in the light from Kepler A, proving that the planet orbits the brighter of the two stars. Moreover, ‘Alopeke simultaneously provides data at both red and blue wavelengths, an unusual capability for speckle imagers. Comparing the red and blue data, the researchers were surprised to discover that the dip in the star’s blue light was about twice as deep as the dip seen in red light. This can be explained by a hot exoplanet with a very extended atmosphere, which more effectively blocks the light at blue wavelengths. Thus, these multi-color speckle observations give a tantalizing glimpse into the appearance of this distant world.

Early observations once pointed to the transiting object being either a low-mass star or a brown dwarf (an object somewhere between the heaviest planets and the lightest stars). But Howell and his team’s research almost certainly shows the object to be a Jupiter-like gas-giant exoplanet with a “puffed up” atmosphere due to exposure to the tremendous radiation from its host star.

‘Alopeke has an identical twin at the Gemini South telescope in Chile [below], named Zorro, which is the word for fox in Spanish. Like ‘Alopeke, Zorro is capable of speckle imaging in both blue and red wavelengths. The presence of these instruments in both hemispheres allows Gemini Observatory to resolve the thousands of exoplanets known to be in multiple star systems.

“Speckle imaging is experiencing a renaissance with technology like fast, low noise detectors becoming more easily available,” said team member and ‘Alopeke instrument scientist Andrew Stephens at the Gemini North telescope. “Combined with Gemini’s large primary mirror, ‘Alopeke has real potential to make even more significant exoplanet discoveries by adding another dimension to the search.”

First proposed by French astronomer Antoine Labeyrie in 1970, speckle imaging is based on the idea that atmospheric turbulence can be “frozen” when obtaining very short exposures. In these short exposures, stars look like collections of little spots, or speckles, where each of these speckles has the size of the telescope’s optimal limit of resolution. When taking many exposures, and using a clever mathematical approach, these speckles can be reconstructed to form the true image of the source, removing the effect of atmospheric turbulence. The result is the highest-quality image that a telescope can produce, effectively obtaining space-based resolution from the ground — making these instruments superb probes of extrasolar environments that may harbor planets.

The discovery of planets orbiting other stars has changed the view of our place in the Universe. Space missions like NASA’s Kepler/K2 Space Telescope and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have revealed that there are twice as many planets orbiting stars in the sky than there are stars visible to the unaided eyes; to date the total discovery count hovers around 4,000. While these telescopes detect exoplanets by looking for tiny dips in the brightness of a star when a planet crosses in front of it, they have their limits.

NASA/Kepler Telescope, and K2 March 7, 2009 until November 15, 2018

NASA/MIT TESS replaced Kepler in search for exoplanets

“These missions observe large fields of view containing hundreds of thousands of stars, so they don’t have the fine spatial resolution necessary to probe deeper,” Howell said. “One of the major discoveries of exoplanet research is that about one-half of all exoplanets orbit stars that reside in binary systems. Making sense of these complex systems requires technologies that can conduct time sensitive observations and investigate the finer details with exceptional clarity.”

“Our work with Kepler-13b stands as a model for future research of exoplanets in multiple star systems,” Howell continued. “The observations highlight the ability of high-resolution imaging with powerful telescopes like Gemini to not only assess which stars with planets are in binaries, but also robustly determine which of the stars the exoplanet orbits.”

See the full article here .


five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


Stem Education Coalition

NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

#astronomy, #astrophysics, #alopeke-zorro, #basic-research, #cosmology, #exoplanet-research, #gemini-observatory

From Gemini Observatory: “Revealing the Intimate Lives of MASSIVE Galaxies”

NOAO

Gemini Observatory
From Gemini Observatory

August 22, 2019

Every galaxy has a story, and every galaxy has been many others in the past (unlike for humans, this is not purely metaphorical, as galaxies grow via hierarchical assembly). Generally speaking, the most massive galaxies have led the most interesting lives, often within teeming galactic metropolises where they are subject to frequent interactions with assorted neighbors. These interactions influence the structure and motions of the stars, gas, and dark matter that make up the galaxies. They also affect the growth of the supermassive black holes at the galaxies’ centers.

Although the detailed life stories of most galaxies will remain forever uncertain, the key thematic elements may be surmised in various ways. A particularly powerful probe of a galaxy’s dynamical structure is called integral field spectroscopy (IFS), which dissects a galaxy’s light at each point within the spectrograph’s field of view. In this way, it is possible to construct a map of the motions of the stars within the galaxy and infer the distribution of the mass, both visible and invisible. IFS observations of the outskirts of a galaxy can provide insight into its global dynamics and past interactions, while IFS data on the innermost region can measure the mass of the supermassive black hole and the motions of the stars in its vicinity.

The MASSIVE Galaxy Survey, led by Chung-Pei Ma of the University of California, Berkeley, is a major effort to uncover the internal structures and formation histories of the most massive galaxies within 350 million light years of our Milky Way. A recent study by the MASSIVE team presents high angular resolution IFS observations of 20 high-mass galaxies obtained with GMOS at Gemini North, combined with wide-field IFS data on the same galaxies from the 2.7-meter Harlan J Smith 2.7-meter Telescope telescope at McDonald Observatory in Texas.

GEMINI/North GMOS

NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)

U Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory Harlan J Smith 2.7-meter Telescope , Altitude 2,026 m (6,647 ft)

The study, led by Berkeley graduate student Irina Ene, appears in the June issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

The accompanying figure shows example maps of four indicators, or “moments” (called v, σ, h3 , and h4), of the stellar motions within two galaxies in the MASSIVE survey. The maps, based on the GMOS IFS data, cover the central regions of the galaxies. The figure also shows graphs of how these indicators vary with distance from the centers of these galaxies. Although both galaxies exhibit ordered central rotation, they are strikingly different in how the motions of the stars vary within the galaxy. Interestingly, for galaxies in the MASSIVE Survey, the directions of the motions of the stars in the central regions are often unaligned with the motions at large radius. This indicates complex and diverse merger histories.

3
Figure caption. Example distributions of the first four velocity “moments” (called v, σ, h3 and h4 ) measured from the GMOS-N IFS data for two of the MASSIVE survey galaxies. For each galaxy, the top row shows two-dimensional maps, while the bottom row shows two-sided radial profiles from Gemini/GMOS-N (magenta circles) and McDonald Observatory (green squares) data. For more information, see the study by Berkeley graduate student Irina Ene.

As a proof of concept, the new study performs detailed dynamical modeling of the IFS data for NGC 1453, the galaxy in the sample with the fastest rotation rate. The team’s analysis reveals the amount of dark matter in this galaxy and shows how the shapes of the stars’ orbits change with radius. In addition, the team found an impressively large mass for the central black hole, more than three billion times the mass of our Sun. The MASSIVE Survey team is currently performing detailed modeling for all the rest of the galaxies in the sample. The results will provide further insight into the assembly histories of the largest galaxies in the local Universe and refine our understanding of the coevolution of galaxies and their central black holes up to the most extreme masses.

See the full article here .


five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


Stem Education Coalition

NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

#revealing-the-intimate-lives-of-massive-galaxies, #astronomy, #astrophysics, #basic-research, #cosmology, #gemini-observatory

From Gemini Observatory: “Discovering Patterns in Io’s Volcanoes”

NOAO

Gemini Observatory
From Gemini Observatory

August 5, 2019

1
Orbital Resonnances of the Galilean Moons of Jupiter. Animation of the 1:2:4 Laplace resonance between Ganymede, Europa, and Io. The labels indicate the ratios of orbital periods: Europa’s is twice Io’s, and Ganymede’s is four times Io’s. Credit: Matma Rex/Wikicommons.

Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io brought astronomers and geologists together to reveal that this moon’s hot spots fluctuate on unexpected timescales.

4
NASA’s Galileo spacecraft acquired its highest resolution images of Jupiter’s moon Io on 3 July 1999 during its closest pass to Io since orbit insertion in late 1995. This color mosaic uses the near-infrared, green and violet filters (slightly more than the visible range) of the spacecraft’s camera and approximates what the human eye would see. Most of Io’s surface has pastel colors, punctuated by black, brown, green, orange, and red units near the active volcanic centers. A false color version of the mosaic has been created to enhance the contrast of the color variations.

The improved resolution reveals small-scale color units which had not been recognized previously and which suggest that the lavas and sulfurous deposits are composed of complex mixtures (Cutout A of false color image). Some of the bright (whitish), high-latitude (near the top and bottom) deposits have an ethereal quality like a transparent covering of frost (Cutout B of false color image). Bright red areas were seen previously only as diffuse deposits. However, they are now seen to exist as both diffuse deposits and sharp linear features like fissures (Cutout C of false color image). Some volcanic centers have bright and colorful flows, perhaps due to flows of sulfur rather than silicate lava (Cutout D of false color image). In this region bright, white material can also be seen to emanate from linear rifts and cliffs.

Comparison of this image to previous Galileo images reveals many changes due to the ongoing volcanic activity.

Galileo will make two close passes of Io beginning in October of this year. Most of the high-resolution targets for these flybys are seen on the hemisphere shown here.

North is to the top of the picture and the sun illuminates the surface from almost directly behind the spacecraft. This illumination geometry is good for imaging color variations, but poor for imaging topographic shading. However, some topographic shading can be seen here due to the combination of relatively high resolution (1.3 kilometers or 0.8 miles per picture element) and the rugged topography over parts of Io. The image is centered at 0.3 degrees north latitude and 137.5 degrees west longitude. The resolution is 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles) per picture element. The images were taken on 3 July 1999 at a range of about 130,000 kilometers (81,000 miles) by the Solid State Imaging (SSI) system on NASA’s Galileo spacecraft during its twenty-first orbit.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA manages the Galileo mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, DC.
This image and other images and data received from Galileo are posted on the World Wide Web, on the Galileo mission home page at URL http://galileo.jpl.nasa.gov. Background information and educational context for the images can be found at URL http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/sepo.

The team utilized the Gemini North telescope [below] and the W.M. Keck Observatory, both located on Maunakea, Hawaiʻi Island.

Keck Observatory, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

The Gemini observations, which provided about 80% of the data for the study, employed the high-resolution adaptive optics system ALTAIR combined with the Gemini Near InfraRed Imager and spectrograph (NIRI). The researchers conducted a total of 271 observations between 2013 and 2018 and published their results in the July 2019 issue of The Astronomical Journal and the June 28, 2019 issue Geophysical Research Letters.

While whizzing around Jupiter in an elliptical orbit with a period of only 1.8 days, Io’s interior is warmed by the varying pull of Jupiter’s gravity, roughly similar to how the Earth’s moon causes tides on our planet. This “tidal heating” powers Io’s volcanoes. However, the shape of Io’s orbit also changes, becoming alternately rounder and then more elliptical, over a longer period of about 480 days. The variation in Io’s orbital shape is caused by the more subtle effects of the varying gravitational pulls from Jupiter’s other large moons, mainly Europa and Ganymede.

By studying changes in Io’s surface brightness due to its volcanic activity, researchers discovered a pattern in the volcanism that appears to coincide with the 480-day variation in the moon’s orbital shape. This was unexpected because there is no detectable pattern associated with the 1.8-day period of a single orbit, even though this is the amount of time over which the most dramatic variations in the pull of gravity occur. To understand this puzzling result, the researchers note that the magma is likely too viscous to react to the changing gravity on the timescale of one orbit, but it can adjust its flow rate with the slower variation in the shape of Io’s orbit. This explains the long-term variations in the degree of volcanic activity.

Read more about this discovery and Io’s most powerful, persistent volcano, Loki Patera in this story from the American Geophysical Union.

See the full article here .


five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


Stem Education Coalition

NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

#applied-research-technology, #astronomical-geology, #astronomy, #astrophysics, #basic-research, #cosmology, #gemini-observatory, #the-jupiter-moon-io-and-its-vulcanism

From Gemini Observatory: “The Formative Years: Giant Planets vs. Brown Dwarfs”

NOAO

Gemini Observatory
From Gemini Observatory

June 12, 2019

Science Contacts:

Eric Nielsen
Stanford University
Email: enielsen”at”standard.edu
Phone: (408) 394-4582

Bruce Macintosh
Stanford University
Email: bmacint”at”standard.edu
Phone: (650) 793-0969

Franck Marchis
SETI Institute
Email: fmarchis”at”seti.org
Phone: (510) 599-0604

Media Contact:

Peter Michaud
Gemini Observatory, PIO Manager
Email: pmichaud”at”gemini.edu
Desk phone: 808-974-2510
Cell phone: 808-936-6643

Based on preliminary results from a new Gemini Observatory survey of 531 stars with the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), it appears more and more likely that large planets and brown dwarfs have very different roots.

The GPI Exoplanet Survey (GPIES), one of the largest and most sensitive direct imaging exoplanet surveys to date, is still ongoing at the Gemini South telescope [below] in Chile. “From our analysis of the first 300 stars observed, we are already seeing strong trends,” said Eric L. Nielsen of Stanford University, who is the lead author of the study, published in The Astronomical Journal.

In November 2014, GPI Principal Investigator Bruce Macintosh of Stanford University and his international team set out to observe almost 600 young nearby stars with the newly commissioned instrument.

NOAO Gemini Planet Imager on Gemini South

GPI was funded with support from the Gemini Observatory partnership, with the largest portion from the US National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF, and the Canadian National Research Council (NRC; also a Gemini partner), funded researchers participating in GPIES.

Imaging a planet around another star is a difficult technical challenge possible with only a few instruments. Exoplanets are small, faint, and very close to their host star — distinguishing an orbiting planet from its star is like resolving the width of a dime from several miles away. Even the brightest planets are ten thousand times fainter than their parent star. GPI can see planets up to a million times fainter, much more sensitive than previous planet-imaging instruments. “GPI is a great tool for studying planets, and the Gemini Observatory gave us time to do a careful, systematic survey,” said Macintosh.

GPIES is now coming to an end. From the first 300 stars, GPIES has detected six giant planets and three brown dwarfs. “This analysis of the first 300 stars observed by GPIES represents the largest, most sensitive direct imaging survey for giant planets published to date,” added Macintosh.

Brown dwarfs are more massive than planets, but not massive enough to fuse hydrogen like stars. “Our analysis of this Gemini survey suggests that wide-separation giant planets may have formed differently from their brown dwarf cousins,” Nielsen said.

The team’s paper advances the idea that massive planets form due to the slow accumulation of material surrounding a young star, while brown dwarfs come about due to rapid gravitational collapse. “It’s a bit like the difference between a gentle light rain and a thunderstorm,” said Macintosh.

“With six detected planets and three detected brown dwarfs from our survey, along with unprecedented sensitivity to planets a few times the mass of Jupiter at orbital distances well beyond Jupiter’s, we can now answer some key questions, especially about where and how these objects form,” Nielsen said.

This discovery may answer a longstanding question as to whether brown dwarfs — intermediate-mass objects — are born more like stars or planets. Stars form from the top down by the gravitational collapse of large primordial clouds of gas and dust, while planets are thought — but have not been confirmed — to form from the bottom up by the assembly of small rocky bodies that then grow into larger ones, a process also termed “core accretion.”

“What the GPIES team’s analysis shows is that the properties of brown dwarfs and giant planets run completely counter to each other,” said Eugene Chiang, professor of astronomy at the University of California Berkeley and a co-author of the paper. “Whereas more massive brown dwarfs outnumber less massive brown dwarfs, for giant planets the trend is reversed: less massive planets outnumber more massive ones. Moreover, brown dwarfs tend to be found far from their host stars, while giant planets concentrate closer in. These opposing trends point to brown dwarfs forming top-down, and giant planets forming bottom-up.”

More Surprises

Of the 300 stars surveyed thus far, 123 are at least 1.5 times more massive than our Sun. One of the most striking results of the GPI survey is that all hosts of detected planets are among these higher-mass stars — even though it is easier to see a giant planet orbiting a fainter, more Sun-like star. Astronomers have suspected this relationship for years, but the GPIES survey has unambiguously confirmed it. This finding also supports the bottom-up formation scenario for planets.

One of the study’s greatest surprises has been how different other planetary systems are from our own. Our Solar System has small rocky planets in the inner parts and giant gas planets in the outer parts. But the very first exoplanets discovered reversed this trend, with giant planets skimming closer to their stars than does moon-sized Mercury. Furthermore, radial-velocity studies — which rely on the fact that a star experiences a gravitationally induced “wobble” when it is orbited by a planet — have shown that the number of giant planets increases with distance from the star out to about Jupiter’s orbit.

But the GPIES team’s preliminary results, which probe still larger distances, has shown that giant planets become less numerous farther out.

“The region in the middle could be where you’re most likely to find planets larger than Jupiter around other stars,” added Nielsen, “which is very interesting since this is where we see Jupiter and Saturn in our own Solar System.” In this regard, the location of Jupiter in our own Solar System may fit the overall exoplanet trend.

But a surprise from all exoplanet surveys is how intrinsically rare giant planets seem to be around Sun-like stars, and how different other solar systems are. The Kepler mission discovered far more small and close-in planets — two or more “super-Earth” planets per Sun-like star, densely packed into inner solar systems much more crowded than our own.

NASA/Kepler Telescope, and K2 March 7, 2009 until November 15, 2018

Extrapolation of simple models suggested GPI would find a dozen giant planets or more, but it only saw six. Putting it all together, giant planets may be present around only a minority of stars like our own.

In January 2019, GPIES observed its 531st, and final, new star, and the team is currently following up the remaining candidates to determine which are truly planets and which are distant background stars impersonating giant planets.

The next-generation telescopes — such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and WFIRST mission, the Giant Magellan Telescope, Thirty Meter Telescope, and Extremely Large Telescope — should be able to push the boundaries of study, imaging planets much closer to their star and overlapping with other techniques, producing a full accounting of giant planet and brown dwarf populations from 1 to 1,000 AU.

NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

NASA/WFIRST

Giant Magellan Telescope, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory, to be built some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

TMT-Thirty Meter Telescope, proposed and now approved for Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

“Further observations of additional higher mass stars can test whether this trend is real,” said Macintosh, “especially as our survey is limited by the number of bright, young nearby stars available for study by direct imagers like GPI.”

See the full article here .


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NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet


Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

#astronomy, #astrophysics, #basic-research, #cosmology, #gemini-observatory, #gpi-gemini-planet-imager-south, #it-appears-more-and-more-likely-that-large-planets-and-brown-dwarfs-have-very-different-roots

From Gemini Observatory: “Is the Mystery of the Dark Matter Deficient Galaxy Resolved?”

NOAO

Gemini Observatory
From Gemini Observatory

May 29, 2019

To have, or not to have dark matter? That is the question.

In early 2018, a team of researchers led by Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University shook up the astrophysics world when they announced that the dwarf, “ultra-diffuse galaxy,” which was referred to by van Dokkum as NGC 1052-DF2, is almost devoid of dark matter. Their report, published in the journal Nature, acknowledged that this conclusion depended on the distance to the galaxy. Nevertheless, the researchers presented evidence in favor of a distance that implied the galaxy was seriously light on dark matter.

The problem is that the formation of galaxies without dark matter doesn’t fit most theories of galaxy evolution. If van Dokkum and his team are correct then astrophysicists have some serious explaining to do. The original Gemini summary of the van Dokkum et al. work can be found here. The van Dokkum team has also published a follow-up study in the September 1, 2018, issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters which supports their original distance to the galaxy.

2
Color composite image of [KKS2000]04 combining F606W and F814W filters with black and white background using g-band very deep imaging from Gemini. The ultra-deep g-band Gemini data reveals a significant brightening of the galaxy in the northern region. An inset with a zoom into the inner region of the galaxy is shown. The zoom shows, with clarity, the presence of spatially resolved stars in the HST image.

In the spirit of healthy scientific debate, another team, led by Ignacio Trujillo of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, used the same data as van Dokkum (including key Gemini Observatory imaging) and concluded that van Dokkum et al. overestimated the distance of the galaxy. Trujillo’s team argue that the galaxy is actually only a little more than half of what van Dokkum’s team determined (13 vs. 20 Megaparsecs). If this is correct, then, according to Trujillo, it resets the amount of dark matter to a level typical for a dwarf galaxy.

It should be noted that Trujillo et al. use the original designation for the galaxy, KKS2000-04, because the distance they determined precludes an association with NGC 1052 as indicated by the van Dokkum designation.

At the core of this debate are some of the assumptions made, and techniques used, to estimate the galaxy’s distance and determine its mass. Trujillo argues that his team’s reassessment of the data, which used multiple methods to arrive at the galaxy’s closer distance, provides a more solid foundation for estimating the galaxy’s distance. “The convergence of all five different and independent methods of measuring the distance to this galaxy reinforces the result,” said Trujillo.

The new work by Trujillo et al. is published in the MNRAS and a press release issued by Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). A blog post discussion by Trujillo on measuring the distances to galaxies can be found here.

See the full article here .


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Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


Stem Education Coalition

NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)


Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet

Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

#is-the-mystery-of-the-dark-matter-deficient-galaxy-resolved, #applied-research-technology, #astronomy, #astrophysics, #basic-research, #cosmology, #gemini-observatory

From Gemini Observatory: “Ultra-sharp Images Make Old Stars Look Absolutely Marvelous! “

NOAO

Gemini Observatory
From Gemini Observatory

March 21, 2019

Media Contact:

Peter Michaud
Public Information and Outreach manager
Gemini Observatory
Email: pmichaud”at”gemini.edu
Desk: 808-974-2510
Cell: 808-936-6643

Science Contacts:

Leandro Kerber
Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Brazil
Email: lokerber”at”uesc.br
Cell: +55 11 94724-6073
Desk: +55 73 3680-5167

1
Figure 1. Color composite GSAOI+GeMS image of HP 1 obtained using the Gemini South telescope in Chile. North is up and East to the left. Composite image produced by Mattia Libralato of the Space Telescope Science Institute. Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF.

2
GSAOI+GeMS color composite image of HP 1 (right image) shown relative to the full field of the cluster obtained by the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (left). Credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA/VISTA/Aladin/CDS.

Part of ESO’s Paranal Observatory, the VLT Survey Telescope (VISTA) observes the brilliantly clear skies above the Atacama Desert of Chile. It is the largest survey telescope in the world in visible light.
Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

Using high-resolution adaptive optics imaging from the Gemini Observatory, astronomers have uncovered one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy. The remarkably sharp image looks back into the early history of our Universe and sheds new insights on how our Galaxy formed.

Just as high-definition imaging is transforming home entertainment, it is also advancing the way astronomers study the Universe.

“Ultra-sharp adaptive optics images from the Gemini Observatory allowed us to determine the ages of some of the oldest stars in our Galaxy,” said Leandro Kerber of the Universidade de São Paulo and Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Brazil. Kerber led a large international research team that published their results in the April 2019 issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Gemini Observatory Adaptie Optics-Gemini South on the summit of Cerro Pachón in Chile (left) and Gemini North on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawai’i, USA (right). Image credit Gemini/NSF/AURA

Using advanced adaptive optics technology at the Gemini South telescope in Chile, the researchers zoomed in on a cluster of stars known as HP 1. “Removing our atmosphere’s distortions to starlight with adaptive optics reveals tremendous details in the objects we study,” added Kerber. “Because we captured these stars in such great detail, we were able to determine their advanced age and piece together a very compelling story.”

That story begins just as the Universe was reaching its one-billionth birthday.

“This star cluster is like an ancient fossil buried deep in our Galaxy’s bulge, and now we’ve been able to date it to a far-off time when the Universe was very young,” said Stefano Souza, a PhD student at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, who worked with Kerber as part of the research team. The team’s results date the cluster at about 12.8 billion years, making these stars among the oldest ever found in our Galaxy. “These are also some of the oldest stars we’ve seen anywhere,” added Souza.

“HP 1 is one of the surviving members of the fundamental building blocks that assembled our Galaxy’s inner bulge,” said Kerber. Until a few years ago, astronomers believed that the oldest globular star clusters — spherical swarms of up to a million stars — were only located in the outer parts of the Milky Way, while the younger ones resided in the innermost Galactic regions. However, Kerber’s study, as well as other recent work based on data from the Gemini Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), have revealed that ancient star clusters are also found within the Galactic bulge and relatively close to the Galactic center.

Globular clusters tell us much about the formation and evolution of the Milky Way. Most of these ancient and massive stellar systems are thought to have coalesced out of the primordial gas cloud that later collapsed to form the spiral disk of our Galaxy, while others appear to be the cores of dwarf galaxies consumed by our Milky Way. Of the roughly 160 globular clusters known in our Galaxy, about a quarter are located within the greatly obscured and tightly packed central bulge region of the Milky Way. This spherical mass of stars some 10,000 light years across forms the central hub of the Milky Way (the yolk if you will) which is made primarily of old stars, gas, and dust. Among the clusters within the bulge, those that are the most metal-poor (lacking in heavier elements) – which includes HP 1 – have long been suspected of being the oldest. HP 1 then is pivotal, as it serves as an excellent tracer of our Galaxy’s early chemical evolution.

“HP 1 is playing a critical role in our understanding of how the Milky Way formed,” Kerber said. “It is helping us to bridge the gap in our understanding between our Galaxy’s past and its present.”

Kerber and his international team used the exquisitely deep high-resolution adaptive optics images from Gemini Observatory as well as archival optical images from the HST to identify faint cluster members, which are essential for age determination. With this rich data set they confirmed that HP 1 is a fossil relic born less than a billion years after the Big Bang, when the Universe was in its infancy.

“These results crown an effort of more than two decades with some of the world’s premier telescopes aimed at determining accurate chemical abundances with high-resolution spectroscopy,” said Beatriz Barbuy of the Universidade de São Paulo, coauthor of this paper and a world-renowned expert in this field. “These Gemini images are the best ground-based photometric data we have. They are at the same level of HST data, allowing us to recover a missing piece in our puzzle: the age of HP 1. From the existence of such old objects, we can attest to the short star formation timescale in the Galactic bulge, as well as its fast chemical enrichment.”

To determine the cluster’s distance, the team used archival ground-based data to identify 11 RR Lyrae variable stars (a type of “standard candle” used to measure cosmic distances) within HP 1. The observed brightness of these RR Lyrae stars indicate that HP 1 is at a distance of about 21,500 light years, placing it approximately 6,000 light years from the Galactic center, well within the Galaxy’s central bulge region.

Kerber and his team also used the Gemini data, as well HST, Very Large Telescope, and Gaia mission data, to refine the orbit of HP 1 within our Galaxy. This analysis shows that during HP 1’s history, the cluster came as close as about 400 light years from the Galactic center – less than one-tenth of its current distance.

NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
•KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
•MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
•YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo,

ESA/GAIA satellite

“The combination of high angular resolution and near-infrared sensitivity makes GeMS/GSAOI an extremely powerful tool for studying these compact, highly dust-enshrouded stellar clusters,” added Mattia Libralato of the Space Telescope Science Institute, a coauthor on the study. “Careful characterization of these ancient systems, as we’ve done here, is paramount to refine our knowledge of our Galaxy’s formation.”

Chris Davis, Program Officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Gemini, commented, “These fabulous results demonstrate why the development of wide-field, high-resolution imaging at Gemini is key to the Observatory’s future. The recent NSF award to support the development of a similar system at Gemini North will make routine super-sharp imaging from both hemispheres a reality. These are certainly exciting times for the Observatory.”

The Gemini observations resolve stars to about 0.1 arcsecond which is one 36 thousandths of a degree and comparable to separating two automobile headlamps from approximately 1,500 miles, or 2,500 kilometers, away (the distance from Manaus to Sao Paulo in Brazil, or from San Francisco to Dallas in the USA). This resolution was obtained using the Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI) – a near-infrared adaptive optics camera used with the Gemini Multi-conjugate adaptive optics System (GeMS). GeMS is an advanced adaptive optics system utilizing three deformable mirrors to correct for distortions imparted on starlight by turbulence in layers of our atmosphere.

See the full article here .


five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


Stem Education Coalition

NOAO Gemini North on MaunaKea, Hawaii, USA, Altitude 4,213 m (13,822 ft)

Gemini South telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) campus near La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 7200 feet

AURA Icon

Gemini’s mission is to advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.

The Gemini Observatory is an international collaboration with two identical 8-meter telescopes. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i (Gemini North) and the other telescope on Cerro Pachón in central Chile (Gemini South); together the twin telescopes provide full coverage over both hemispheres of the sky. The telescopes incorporate technologies that allow large, relatively thin mirrors, under active control, to collect and focus both visible and infrared radiation from space.

The Gemini Observatory provides the astronomical communities in six partner countries with state-of-the-art astronomical facilities that allocate observing time in proportion to each country’s contribution. In addition to financial support, each country also contributes significant scientific and technical resources. The national research agencies that form the Gemini partnership include: the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Cientifica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Argentinean Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, and the Brazilian Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação. The observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. The NSF also serves as the executive agency for the international partnership.

#astronomy, #astrophysics, #basic-research, #cosmology, #eso-vista, #gemini-observatory, #gemini-south, #hp-1