The Gemini Infrared Multi-Object Spectrograph (GIRMOS) is a powerful new instrument being built to facility- class standards for the Gemini telescope. It takes advantage of the latest developments in adaptive optics and integral field spectrographs. GIRMOS will carry out simultaneous high-angular-resolution, spatially-resolved infrared (1 - 2.4 µm) spectroscopy of four objects within a two-arcminute field-of-regard by taking advantage of multi-object adaptive optics. This capability does not currently exist anywhere in the world and therefore offers significant scientific gains over a very broad range of topics in astronomical research. For example, current programs for high redshift galaxies are pushing the limits of what is possible with infrared spectroscopy at 8 -10- meter class facilities by requiring up to several nights of observing time per target. Therefore, the observation of multiple objects simultaneously with adaptive optics is absolutely necessary to make effective use of telescope time and obtain statistically significant samples for high redshift science. With an expected commissioning date of 2023, GIRMOS’s capabilities will also make it a key followup instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope when it is launched in 2021, as well as a true scientific and technical pathfinder for future Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) multi-object spectroscopic instrumentation. In this paper, we will present an overview of this instrument’s capabilities and overall architecture. We also highlight how this instrument lays the ground work for a future TMT early-light instrument.
The Gemini Observatory has a strong commitment to meeting the user community's scientific needs. This means providing a strong suite of instruments with broad applicability: those that can handle the largest share of science return as well as more unique instruments, some of which might have narrow scope but potentially high impact. Recognizing that building a new Facility Instrument is expensive and typically takes more than 5 years, we have developed the Visiting Instrument Program, which allows investigators to bring their own innovative instruments to either Gemini telescope. To be accepted, all visiting instruments must demonstrate their competitiveness via the regular time allocation process. The majority of successful instruments are made available to our broader user community within one semester of being commissioned at the telescope. Visiting Instruments are operated by the instrument team while on Gemini, and are not fully integrated to Gemini control and data reduction software. The instrument team is responsible for providing reduced data and/or a data reduction pipeline to PIs when the instrument is made available to the community, as well as providing technical assessments of any community proposals. In any given semester, as many as three Visiting Instruments at each telescope might be listed in the Call for Proposals. The availability of the instrument at either Gemini telescope is determined by popularity with proposers, by pressure from other instruments and programs, and of course by the willingness of the instrument team to allow the use of the instrument at Gemini.
The Immersion GRating INfrared Spectrometer (IGRINS) was designed for high-throughput with the expectation of being a visitor instrument at progressively larger observing facilities. IGRINS achieves R∼45000 and > 20,000 resolution elements spanning the H and K bands (1.45-2.5μm) by employing a silicon immersion grating as the primary disperser and volume-phase holographic gratings as cross-dispersers. After commissioning on the 2.7 meter Harlan J. Smith Telescope at McDonald Observatory, the instrument had more than 350 scheduled nights in the first two years. With a fixed format echellogram and no cryogenic mechanisms, spectra produced by IGRINS at different facilities have nearly identical formats. The first host facility for IGRINS was Lowell Observatory’s 4.3-meter Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT). For the DCT a three-element fore-optic assembly was designed to be mounted in front of the cryostat window and convert the f/6.1 telescope beam to the f/8.8 beam required by the default IGRINS input optics. The larger collecting area and more reliable pointing and tracking of the DCT improved the faint limit of IGRINS, relative to the McDonald 2.7-meter, by ∼1 magnitude. The Gemini South 8.1-meter telescope was the second facility for IGRINS to visit. The focal ratio for Gemini is f/16, which required a swap of the four-element input optics assembly inside the IGRINS cryostat. At Gemini, observers have access to many southern-sky targets and an additional gain of ∼1.5 magnitudes compared to IGRINS at the DCT. Additional adjustments to IGRINS include instrument mounts for each facility, a glycol cooled electronics rack, and software modifications. Here we present instrument modifications, report on the success and challenges of being a visitor instrument, and highlight the science output of the instrument after four years and 699 nights on sky. The successful design and adaptation of IGRINS for various facilities make it a reliable forerunner for GMTNIRS, which we now anticipate commissioning on one of the 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes prior to the completion of the Giant Magellan Telescope.
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a joint project between astronomical organizations in
Europe, North America, and East Asia, in collaboration with the Republic of Chile. ALMA consists of 54 twelve-meter
antennas and 12 seven-meter antennas operating as an aperture synthesis array in the (sub)millimeter wavelength range.
Assembly, Integration, and Verification (AIV) of the antennas was completed at the end of the year 2013, while the final
optimization and complete expansion to validate all planned observing modes will continue. This paper compares the
actually obtained results of the period 2008-2013 with the baselines that had been laid out in the early project-planning
First plans made for ALMA AIV had already established a two-phased project life-cycle: phase 1 for setting up
necessary infrastructure and common facilities, and taking the first three antennas to the start of commissioning; and
phase 2 focused on the steady state processing of the remaining units. Throughout the execution of the project this lifecycle
was refined and two additional phases were added, namely a transition phase between phases 1 and 2, and a closing
phase to address the project ramp-down. A sub-project called Accelerated Commissioning and Science Verification (ACSV)
was carried out during the year 2009 in order to provide focus to the whole ALMA organization, and to
accomplish the start-of-commissioning milestone. Early phases of CSV focused on validating the basic performance and
calibration. Over time additional observing modes have been validated as capabilities expanded both in hardware and
This retrospective analysis describes the originally presented project staffing plans and schedules, the underlying
assumptions, identified risks and operational models, among others. For comparison actual data on staffing levels, the
resultant schedule, additional risks identified and those that actually materialized, are presented. The observed
similarities and differences are then analyzed and explained, and corresponding lessons learned are presented.
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an international facility at an advanced stage of
construction in the Atacama region of northern Chile. ALMA will consist of two arrays of high-precision antennas: one
made up of twelve 7-meter diameter antennas operating in closely-packed configurations of about 50m in diameter, and
the other of up to sixty-four 12-meter antennas arranged in configurations with diameters ranging from about 150 meters
to 15 km. There will be four more 12-meter antennas to provide the "zero-spacing" information, which is critical for
making accurate images of extended objects. The antennas will be equipped with sensitive millimeter-wave receivers
covering most of the frequency range 84 to 950 GHz. State-of-the-art microwave, digital, photonic and software systems
will capture the signals, transfer them to the central building and correlate them, while maintaining accurate
synchronization. ALMA will provide images of a wide range of astronomical objects with great sensitivity and very
high spectral resolution. The images will have much higher "fidelity" than those from existing mm/submm telescopes.
This paper gives an update on the status of construction and on progress with the testing and scientific commissioning.
We present a new suite of web-based software tools developed at the
Submillimeter Array which allow the tracking of projects from the
proposal stage all the way to successful completion of the
observations. The web-based nature of these tools allows easy
world-wide coordination and collaboration through all aspects of a
science project, from proposal writing, time allocation, observing
script preparation, scheduling, and finally observations. These tools
are based on a project system data-flow which was developed after
extensive discussion with proposing scientists, time allocation
committee members, support astronomers, and engineers responsible for
data quality. This system allows every stage of a project to be
tracked, with proposals, time allocation comments, observing scripts,
observation schedules, observing logs, data files, data quality
reports, etc, all organized in a simple and convenient structure. In
addition to making the data more readily accessible to the scientists,
this system allows very accurate tracking of other telescope
operational parameters, such as efficiency, share-holder's time
fractions, and instrument performance, to name just a few. We will
present the underlying design for the project system data-flow, and
show the software used to ensure each project is tracked completely
during its path from proposal to completed science observation.