The Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) project has completed its Conceptual Design Phase. This paper is a status report of the MSE project regarding its technical and programmatic progress. The technical status includes its conceptual design and system performance, and highlights findings and recommendations from the System and various subsystems design reviews. The programmatic status includes the project organization and management plan for the Preliminary Design Phase. In addition, this paper provides the latest information related to the permitting process for Maunakea construction.
The Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) project is a collaboration designing the largest non-ELT optical/NIR astronomical telescope to date. MSE is unique as a major astronomical facility since it involves the redevelopment of an existing facility, that of the Canada France Hawai‘i Telescope (CFHT), with a newly expanded partnership. The project office is hosted at CFHT in Waimea HI, and includes new partners from Australia, China, India and Spain. The project is being developed by an international collaboration with design team membership distributed across four continents. In addition to a report on the progress and organization of design work, this paper describes the challenges of redeveloping a major astronomical site in Hawai‘i. We discuss the Project Office and engineering work from the aspects of meeting the Science Requirements while satisfying the unique conditions imposed by redevelopment on Maunakea.
The Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE; formerly ngCFHT) will be a large format wide field spectroscopic facility that replaces the existing 3.6 m Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. Capable of recording tens of thousands of spectra on faint targets each night, and sustain that pace for years, MSE will be an ideal complement to emerging space- and ground-based imaging survey facilities. The combination of aperture, spectral resolution, and dedicated access to support large surveys makes MSE distinct from any other facilities under development or being planned. We provide an overview of the MSE technical design, organization of the project office, and the core science goals that will help drive MSE for decades.
The Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE; previously, the Next Generation CFHT) will fill a missing link in the international suite of optical-infra-red facilities in the 2020s, and will provide a key capability for multi-wavelength science, namely: fully dedicated, 10m-class, wide-field spectroscopy of thousands of objects per hour at spectral resolutions ranging from R = 2000 to ≥ 20000. This facility will be provided by upgrading the existing CFHT and expanding the partnership. A Project Office has been established to lead the continued scientific, technical and partnership development and complete a Construction Proposal for the facility. Here, we review the current status of the science development, in particular discussing the mechanisms by which the principal science drivers flow into the technical design, and we discuss how the facility will be optimized to satisfy demanding scientific specifications.
The Gemini Observatory is going through an extraordinary time with astronomical instrumentation. New powerful
capabilities are delivered and are soon entering scientific operations. In parallel, new instruments are being planned and
designed to align the strategy with community needs and enhance the competitiveness of the Observatory for the next
decade. We will give a broad overview of the instrumentation program, focusing on achievements, challenges and
strategies within a scientific, technical and management perspective. In particular we will discuss the following
instruments and projects (some will have dedicated detailed papers in this conference): GMOS-CCD refurbishment,
FLAMINGOS-2, GeMS (MCAO system and imager GSAOI), GPI, new generation of A&G, GRACES (fiber feed to
CFHT ESPaDOnS) and GHOS (Gemini High-resolution Optical Spectrograph), and provide some updates about
detector controllers, mid-IR instruments, Altair, GNIRS, GLAO and future workhorse instruments.
A concept study is underway to upgrade the existing 3.6 meter Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) to a
10 meter class, wide-field, dedicated, spectroscopic facility, which will be the sole astronomical resource capable
of obtaining deep, spectroscopic follow-up data to the wealth of photometric and astrometric surveys planned
for the next decade, and which is designed to tackle driving science questions on the formation of the Milky Way
galaxy and the characterization and nature of dark energy. This unique facility will operate at low (R ∼ 2000),
intermediate (R ∼ 6000) and high (R ∼ 20000) resolutions over the wavelength range 370 ≤ λ≤ 1300nm,
and will obtain up to 3200 simultaneous spectra per pointing over a 1.5 square degree field. Unlike all other
proposed or planned wide field spectroscopic facilities, this “Next Generation CFHT” will combine the power
of a 10m aperture with exquisite observing conditions and a mandate for dedicated spectroscopic studies to
enable transformative science programs in fields as diverse as exoplanetary host characterization, the interstellar
medium, stars and stellar astrophysics, the Milky Way galaxy, the Local Group, nearby galaxies and
clusters, galaxy evolution, the inter-galactic medium, dark energy and cosmology. A new collaboration must
be formed to make this necessary facility into a reality, and currently nearly 60 scientists from 11 different
communities - Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Hawaii, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, USA - are
involved in defining the science requirements and survey strategies. Here, we discuss the origins of this project,
its motivations, the key science and its flow-down requirements. An accompanying article describes the technical
studies completed to date. The final concept study will be submitted to the CFHT Board and Science Advisory
Committee in Fall 2012, with first light for the facility aiming to be in the early 2020s.
GeMS, the Gemini Laser Guide Star Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics facility system, has seen first light in December 2011, and has already produced images with H band Strehl ratio in excess of 35% over fields of view of 85x85 arcsec, fulfilling the MCAO promise. In this paper, we report on these early results, analyze trends in performance, and concentrate on key or novel aspects of the system, like centroid gain estimation, on-sky non common path aberration estimation. We also present the first astrometric analysis, showing very encouraging results.
At the present time, several new Gemini instruments are being delivered and commissioned. The Near-Infrared Coronagraph has been extensively tested and commissioned on the Gemini-South telescope, and will soon begin a large survey to discover extrasolar planets. The FLAMINGOS-2 near-IR multi-object spectrograph is nearing completion at the University of Florida, and is expected to be delivered to Gemini-South by the end of 2008. Gemini's Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics bench has been successfully integrated and tested in the lab, and now awaits integration with the laser system and the Gemini-South AO Imager on the telescope. We also describe our efforts to repair thermal damage to the Gemini Near-IR Spectrograph that occurred last year. Since the last update, progress has been made on several of Gemini's next generation of ambitious "Aspen" instruments. The Gemini Planet Imager is now in the final design phase, and construction is scheduled to begin shortly. Two competitive conceptual design studies for the Wide-Field Fiber Multi-Object Spectrometer have now started. The Mauna Kea ground layer monitoring campaign has collected data for well over a year in support of the planning process for a future Ground Layer Adaptive Optics system.
We describe a simple and cost-effective concept for implementing a Ground Layer Adaptive Optics (GLAO) system on
Gemini that will feed all instruments mounted at the Cassegrain focus. The design concept can provide a GLAO
correction to any of the current or future seeing-limited optical or near-infrared Gemini instruments. The GLAO design
uses an adaptive secondary mirror and provides a significant upgrade to the current telescope acquisition-and-guide
system while reusing and building upon the existing telescope facilities and infrastructure.
This paper discusses the overall design of the GLAO system including optics, opto-mechanics, laser guide star facilities,
natural and laser guide stars wavefront sensors. Such a GLAO system will improve the efficiency of essentially all
observations with Gemini and also will help with scheduling since it virtually eliminates poor seeing.
First, a status report is given for the on-going (Phase 2) instruments under construction now for Gemini. These instruments will be deployed during 2006 and 2007 at Gemini-South and collectively represent the end of an era of instrument building within the Gemini Partnership. Next, scientific applications and technical details for the next generation of "Aspen" instruments is described. These advanced future instruments will support breakthrough research in areas like extra-solar planets, dark matter, and dark energy. Gemini's ambitious adaptive optics development program in both current and future Aspen instruments is also described. Finally, a look back at some of the trials and tribulations of building instruments at Gemini is presented, with an eye toward the lessons of yesterday, how they helped mold today's program, and how they will likely impact the procurement of future instruments at Gemini.
Gemini's instrument program, which has existed for about a decade, has recently produced enough instruments to fully populate all of the instrument ports on both Gemini-N and Gemini-S. These delivered instruments, as well as those currently under construction and due to be delivered in the next ~2 years, are described in this report. We also summarize the bold new directions Gemini's development program will go in the next 5-10 years, as our Community embarks upon a new science mission to answer some of the most fundamental questions in astronomy.
This is the fourth in a series of SPIE papers that chronicle the accomplishments, challenges, and evolution of Gemini's instrumentation program. For the first time we are pleased to report about progress made on instruments being fabricated as well as results with completed instruments, now steadily producing world-class scientific results at the Gemini Observatory. With the steady arrival of new facility class instruments, we anticipate phasing out our reliance on visitor instruments, which have enabled our early scientific capabilities at both Gemini-N and Gemini-S. Currently two facility class instruments are operational and six more are due in roughly a year, hence commissioning all of these instruments in Hawaii and Chile will doubtless be an enormous task for the staff at Gemini in the near future.
The Gemini Near-Infrared Imager (NIRI) has now been completed and is in operation at the telescope. This paper discusses the basic design of the instrument and a number of particularly interesting technical issues. NIRI offers three different pixel scales to match different operating modes of the Gemini telescope and allows polarimetric and spectroscopic observations. It is equipped with an infrared wavefront sensor to allow tip-tilt correction even in highly obscured regions.
The first of two Gemini Multi Object Spectrographs (GMOS) has recently begun operation at the Gemini-North 8m telescope. In this presentation we give an overview of the instrument and describe the overall performance of GMOS-North both in the laboratory during integration, and at the telescope during commissioning. We describe the development process which led to meeting the demanding reliability and performance requirements on flexure, throughput and image quality. We then show examples of GMOS data and performance on the telescope in its imaging, long-slit and MOS modes. We also briefly highlight novel features in GMOS that are described in more detail in separate presentations, particularly the flexure compensation system and the on-instrument wavefront sensor. Finally we give an update of the current status of GMOS on Gemini-North and future plans.
A description of a new 1-5 micron filter set for infrared photometry
is presented. This new Mauna Kea Observatories near-infrared filter
set is designed to reduce background noise, improve photometric
transformations from observatory to observatory, provide greater
accuracy in extrapolating to zero airmass, and reduce the color
dependence in the extinction coefficient in photometric reductions.
Through this effort we hope to establish a single standard set of
infrared filters for ground-based astronomy. A complete technical
description is presented to facilitate the production of similar
filters in the future.
The idea of achieving Adaptive Optics over the majority of the sky using sodium laser guide stars is reaching maturity on Mauna Kea. However, Mauna Kea is a shared astronomical site with 13 institutions and 11 telescopes. Coordination between observatories with laser guide stars and facilities without laser guide stars must be accomplished to prevent sodium light (Rayleigh scatter and the laser guide star itself) from interfering with science observations at the non-laser facilities. To achieve this goal, a technical working group was organized with participation from several Mauna Kea observatories to discuss and agree upon an automated system for avoiding laser “beam” collisions with other telescopes. This paper discussed the implementation of a Laser Traffic Control System (LTCS) for Mauna Kea including a brief history of the coordination effort, technical requirements and details surrounding implementation of laser beam avoidance software, critical configuration parameters, algorithmic approaches, test strategies used during deployment, and recommendations based upon experiences to date for others intending to implement similar systems.
In order to operate large telescope, it is crucial to have a good weather forecast especially of the temperature when the telescope begins preparation, i.e., open the dome to introduce new fresh air inside. For this purpose, the Mauna Kea Weather Center (MKWC) has been established in July 1998 by the initiative of Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii. The weather forecast is not a simple matter and is difficult in general especially as in the quite unique environment as in the summit of Mauna Kea. MKWC introduced a system of numerical forecasting based on the mesoscale model, version five, so called MM5, was running on the vector parallel super computer VPP700 of Subaru Telescope for past three years. By the introduction of new supercomputer system at Subaru Telescope, we have prepared new programs for the new supercomputer systems. The long term but coarse grid forecast is available through National Center for Environmental Predict (NCEP) every day, and the MKWC system get the result of simulations on coarse grid over the pacific ocean from NCEP, and readjustment of data to the fine grid down to 1km spatial separation at the summit of Mauna Kea, i.e. Telescope sites of Mauna Kea Observatories. Computation begins around 20:00 HST, to end 48 hours forecast around 0100am next morning. Conversion to WWW graphics will finish around 0500am, then, the specialist of MKWC would take into the result of the numerical forecast account, to launch a precious forecast for the all observatories at the summit of Mauna Kea, at 10:00am HST. This is the collaboration among observatories to find a better observation environment.
Building instruments suitable for the new 8-10 m class of telescopes has been a major challenge, as specifications tighten, costs, scientific demands, and expectations grow, all while schedules remain demanding. This report provides a top level description of the status of various elements in the Gemini instrument program, and touches on some of the common problems the various teams building Gemini instruments are having. Despite these challenges, Gemini anticipates harvesting great scientific rewards from the combination of its Observatory facilities and exciting complement of scientific instruments.
We discuss the design of the laser guide star system to be implemented with ALTAIR, the Gemini North adaptive optics system. We give an overview of the sodium physics in order to understand why some lasers are more efficient than others to produce bright artificial stars. We present some simulation results which set the laser output power requirement when launching a perfect beam to the sky. Preliminary designs for the beam transfer optics, the laser launch telescope and the safety systems are also presented.
The Mauna Kea Laser Guide Star Technical Working Group was established to address related to the coordination and use of laser beacons for adaptive optics at the astronomical observatories located on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. This paper describes the issues that are being addressed by the group and the policies that have been adopted for Mauna Kea.
We review the Gemini Observatory science operations plan including the proposal submission, allocation and observation planning processes; the telescope operation model; and the scientific staffing plans and user support. Use of the telescope is shown via a sub-stellar companion search program to illustrate the planning tools and level of integration required between the observatory control, telescope control and data handling software systems.
Exploiting instrument platforms like the current generation of 8 - 10 m class telescopes represents a new era in instrument design, construction, handling, and use. Gemini's instruments are no exception to this revolution. For example, since at least 50% of Gemini's observing time will be queue scheduled, Cassegrain-mounted instruments will effectively remain on- line, ready to be called into service for typically months at a time with minimal delay to match observing programs with changing conditions. Furthermore, effective instrument emissivities of less than 1% will be needed to take advantage of the very low emissivity of the telescopes. Here we report on the technical status of the phase I instruments, describe attention being given to the total system performance of the telescopes and instruments, and list some of the considerations going into the phase II instrument program.
The Gemini 8 meter telescopes performance with active and adaptive optics as a system is given. The telescopes are being designed to deliver near diffraction limited images at infrared wavelengths to the focal plane. This is achieved with a combination of innovative telescope design, a fully active control system and a natural guide star adaptive optics (AO) system for the Mauna Kea Telescope. The predicted delivered performance while under full active control is given at 2.2 microns. The top level AO system error budget is presented including the effects of instrumentation. The Gemini telescopes have been designed from the outset to be fully active; from control of the primary mirror surfaces and positioning of the secondary to ventilation of the enclosure by control over the ventilation gates. Descriptions of the concepts used in the various subsystems have been published previously. Here, we emphasize the system level interactions between the Gemini adaptive optics system and the telescope and instruments. This includes a performance summary of how the telescope operates with and without AO. First, the current system concept is outlined, which includes wavefront sensors/guiders in the following areas: (1) acquisition and guiding system, peripheral wavefront sensors; (2) scientific instruments, on instrument wavefront sensors; (3) adaptive optics system, facility wavefront sensor. The system performance depends upon the interactions of these three key sensor areas. For non-AO use, both peripheral and on instrument wavefront sensor may be used to support fast and slow guiding and active control of the telescope alignment and wavefront. For AO use, combinations of all three types of wavefront sensors may be used for adaptive atmospheric compensation in addition to the functions listed above. The system is designed to quickly change between modes of operation (AO to non-AO and back) under remote control.
The Gemini Telescopes are being built to exploit the unique infrared sites of Mauna Kea in Hawaii and Cerro Pachon in Chile. Both telescopes are being designed to deliver 0.1 arcsec images at the focal plane at 2.2 micrometers which will include all tracking and enclosure affects. Beyond 2 micrometers , using fast tip/tilt secondaries these 8 m telescopes will be essentially diffraction limited. In addition the use of protected silver coatings for both the primary and secondary mirrors and efficient in-situ mirror cleaning means the Mauna Kea telescope should be capable of delivering focal plane emissivities of approximately 2%. The baseline design for the Mauna Kea telescope also includes an adaptive optics system capable of feeding a 1 - 2 arcminute corrected field to near infrared instruments mounted at the f/16 Cassegrain focus. Fully exploiting the superb characteristics of the Gemini Telescopes will require a new generation of instruments which will challenge both instrument designers and infrared array technologies. The baseline complement of infrared instruments includes a 1 - 5 micrometers imager, a 1 - 5 micrometers spectrometer, and a mid-infrared (8 - 25 micrometers ) imager. Several optical instruments will also be built under the baseline instrumentation plan.
An infrared camera has been successfully coupled to the Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), making a unique infrared spectrometer. This instrument, the only one of its kind in the world, is capable of simultaneously acquiring both images and spectra of astronomical sources in the 1.0 to 2.5 micrometers wavelength range across its 24' field of view. Successful observations have been made of various targets, including planets and emission nebulae. A description of the instrument, data analysis, and scientific results, is presented below.
As part of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope's (CFHT) New Imaging Program we recently fabricated a pair of 1.0 - 2.5 micrometers facility cameras, known as 'Redeye'. Each camera uses a Rockwell NICMOS3 Hg:CdTe array with 256 X 256 pixels. The two cameras are virtually identical in all respects except one houses 1.7:1.0 reimaging optics, while the other houses 0.7:1.0 reimaging optics. The cameras were commissioned in January 1993 and we anticipate developing several new observing modes in the near future.