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Gemini is developing data reduction software for use with observational data obtained with the Gemini telescopes. The released version of the software is available to users and other interested parties as the Gemini IRAF package, an external package layered upon IRAF. The Gemini IRAF package currently supports data from the following instruments: GMOS-N, GMOS-S, NIFS, NIRI, GNIRS, Michelle, TReCS, OSCIR, Hokupa'a+QUIRC and Flamingos-I. Support for other facility instruments will be added as these instruments become available. The package is organized in a number of sub-packages. It contains a generic tools package, "gemtools", and instrument-specific packages, as well as more generic packages for different types of data. The raw data from the Gemini facility instruments are stored as multi-extension FITS (MEF) files. Therefore all the tasks in "gemtools" and all packages intended for processing of data from the facility instruments are capable of handling MEF files. Gemini provides only limited reduction software for visitor instruments.
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GMOS-N B600 replacement grating available
A new B600 grating has been commissioned and is available for science use in GMOS-N. This grating replaces the original B600 grating which was damaged in December 2008. Active programs that are configured to use the original B600 grating will automatically use this new grating for any new observations executed.
Full characterisation of this new grating is still on-going. Preliminary estimates based on daytime GCALflats indicate that the new grating is at least as sensitive as the old grating prior to the damage, and at most wavelengths is has significantly higher sensitivity (~ 20-30%). Spectrophotometric standard observations taken through the 5.0 arcsec longslit are planned and the derived full system throughput will be made available.

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New Gemini Deputy Director & Head of Science
Gemini Director Doug Simons is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Nancy Levenson as the new Deputy Director & Head of Science of the Gemini Observatory.
Nancy Levenson (Ph. D. 1997 University of California, Berkeley) is currently the Jack and Linda Gill Professor at the University of Kentucky, where she has been since 2002. She is the Deputy of the CanariCam AGN Science Team and a Science Team Associate for the International X-ray Observatory. She has been a member of the Gemini Science Committee since 2007.

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Mapping Gemini Observatory's Long Range Future
The next five years will bring a range of challenges and opportunities to Gemini Observatory that will be unique in our relatively brief history. In that time we will not only transition into a new funding cycle but, more importantly, a new International Agreement which may include new partners or at least a redistribution of shares among the current partners. Furthermore, with the completion of multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) at Gemini South, we will transition from one of many AO-capable observatories to a truly AO-optimised facility, unmatched well into the next decade.

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Britain has been re-instated as a full member of the Gemini Observatory, meaning its astronomers can continue to use two of the world's best telescopes. administrators have now agreed to maintain the UK's subscription and recoup costs by selling observing time.

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Britain has been re-instated as a full member of the Gemini Observatory, meaning its astronomers can continue to use two of the world's best telescopes.
An £80m hole in the UK's physics and astronomy budget threatened to deny the scientists access to the 8m-class telescopes in Chile and Hawaii.
But administrators have now agreed to maintain the UK's subscription and recoup costs by selling observing time.

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UK astronomers will lose access to two of the world's finest telescopes in February, as administrators look to plug an £80m hole in their finances.
Observation programmes on the 8.1m telescopes of the Gemini organisation will end abruptly because Britain is cancelling its subscription.
It means UK astronomers can no longer view the Northern Hemisphere sky with the largest class of telescope.
Researchers say they are aghast at the administrators' decision.

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Canadian astronomers could soon be looking for a new stargazing partner as the British have announced plans to withdraw from the Gemini Observatory.
Gemini consists of two world-class telescopes worth close to $100 million each, Gemini North in Hawaii and Gemini South in Chile, that together give astronomers access to the entire sky. The telescopes, financed largely by the U.S., Britain and Canada, are the premiere facilities used by optical astronomers in this country.

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