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Gemini South Shines First Sodium Laser "Constellation"

In the early morning of January 22, 2011 at 4:38am, Chile Summer Time, a new era in high-resolution astronomy began with the successful propagation of a 5-star sodium laser guide star "constellation" in the skies over Cerro Pachón in Chile.
The event, captured by a series of remarkable images (Figures 1-3), includes one that clearly shows the five laser-produced stars shining in the sky (Figure 1). This first propagation of the Gemini South telescope laser system marks the beginning of on-sky commissioning for the next-generation adaptive optics system called GeMS or the Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) System. GeMS will allow relatively wide-field imaging at extremely high resolution over an exceptionally large portion of the sky.



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Gemini South/Chile Earthquake Update

The staff of Gemini Observatory extends its deepest sympathies to the families of those who suffered losses or are displaced due to the major magnitude 8.8 earthquake in that struck southern Chile early on Saturday morning, February 27, 2010.
Gemini was fortunate that there were no significant structural damages to any of our facilities.

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There are many international telescopes in Chile making use of the low humidity conditions in the Chilean mountains and high-altitude deserts. But as one of the most seismically active countries in the world, many of these observatories are built on shaky ground.
In the wake of the deadly 8.8 magnitude Chilean earthquake that hit the South American nation on Saturday, causing a tsunami to rush across the Pacific, how are these sensitive observatories protected from damage? The quake was reported as far away as 1,800 km from the epicenter, so it's little doubt that the Chile-based observatories would have felt it.

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The UK goverment is to stop paticipation of the Gemini Observatory.
Funding is to stop after 2012.

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Mount Allison University opens Gemini Observatory

The Mount Allison professor, meanwhile, is getting ready for the official opening of the Gemini Observatory this Saturday (Oct. 17) at 3 p.m. The facility has been in operation since last autumn.
The ceremony will be preceded from 2 to 3 p.m. by student-led tours of the observatory for the public, each tour lasting 20 minutes. The official opening, taking place in the Dunn Building, will entail addresses by Hawkes; Mount Allison president Dr. Robert Campbell; Dr. Jeff Ollerhead, the university's dean of science; and Dr. Ian Shelton, Mt. A physics professor and astronomer.
The official ribbon cutting and a reception will follow.

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University of Florida astronomers are using a new instrument to peer into the center of the galaxy.
The UF-designed and built camera/spectrometer is attached to the Gemini South telescope in Chile. Last week, astronomers tested the device by capturing images that include stars in the middle of the Milky Way.


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FLAMINGOS-2 is a Near-Infrared wide field imager and multi-object spectrometer for use on Gemini-South. It was constructed by the  University of Florida Astronomy Department. FLAMINGOS-2 was delivered to Gemini in July 2009. The instrument is undergoing a period of characterisation and commissioning before it will be available for scientific use. We expect that there will be a sizable time allocation for system verification and demo science in semester 2010A. Details will be posted towards the end of instrument commissioning.
FLAMINGOS-2 will provide Near Infrared (0.95-2.4 micron) imaging capabilities over a 6'.1 diameter circular field, and multi-object NIR spectroscopy at resolutions R = 1200-3000 for objects within a 2'x6' quasi-rectangular field. FLAMINGOS-2 will also also work in conjunction with the facility multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) system to provide imaging and MOS spectroscopy of the 2' MCAO corrected field. A dual-etalon tunable filter system has also been proposed and is being developed to offer tunable narrow-band imaging capabilities for FLAMINGOS-2 with the MCAO system.

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FLAMINGOS-2

Sophisticated telescope camera debuts with peek at nest of black holes

Less than two months after they inaugurated the world's largest telescope, University of Florida astronomers have used one of the world's most advanced telescopic instruments to gather images of the heavens.
A team led by astronomy professor Stephen Eikenberry late last week captured the first images of the cosmos ever made with a UF-designed and built camera/spectrometer affixed to the Gemini South telescope in Chile.

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Hurricane Felicia

Our webserver has been relocated to Gemini South due to possible  weather issues. We apologise for any inconsistencies this might cause between now and August 12.
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