GNIRS Key Science Opportunity
Taft Armandroff, Steve Strom, and Jeremy Mould
As discussed elsewhere in this newsletter, the Gemini Near-Infrared Spectrograph (GNIRS) is undergoing commissioning as of late January and is nearing availability for observing to the Gemini communities. NOAO is keen to see the powerful capabilities of GNIRS exploited for major scientific initiatives. These could include:
- Spectroscopic follow-up for the new Spitzer Space Telescope.
- Moderate-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy of individual stars and substellar objects.
- Studies of the dynamics and excitation of pre-main-sequence star disks and jets.
- Dynamical and abundance investigations of stellar populations in galaxies, such as the inner bulge of our galaxy, and the late-type giants in M32.
- Investigation of the dynamics, excitation, and abundances of gas in nearby AGNs.
- Dynamical, excitation, and abundance studies of starburst galaxies and ultra-luminous IRAS galaxies.
- Study of stellar and gaseous dynamics and excitation in radio galaxy hosts, and the origin of radio jet/host galaxy alignment.
As announced in the December 2003 NOAO/NSO Newsletter, NOAO is conducting a pilot program to enable observations with high scientific potential that require significant blocks of time with GNIRS on Gemini South (15 to 20 nights over the next two to three years). Proposers must agree to make all Gemini data and ancillary information available publicly following a minimal proprietary period (less than six months). Please submit such proposals using the normal NOAO TAC process, but indicate in the Abstract that your proposal is to be considered for the “GNIRS Key Science Opportunity.” The Time Allocation Committee (TAC) will evaluate the scientific merit of these proposals. In addition, because discretionary time from the NOAO Director will be used for this program, the Director will employ the following criteria in evaluating proposals:
- intrinsic scientific merit as evaluated by the TAC
- breadth and quality of the scientific team and its demonstrated track record
- enhancement of undergraduate education through involvement in research
- potential value of the archival database to other users
- plans to manage data reduction and archiving, and deliver data products, in a timely fashion.
In order to help inform the community, NGSC has created a Web site on the GNIRS Key Science Opportunity (see the link at www.noao.edu/usgp/gnirs_key_sci_op/). The site has links to GNIRS information and features a form to allow interested parties to indicate their interest to persons forming science teams.
In addition, NGSC will hold a Webcast on the GNIRS Key Science Opportunity on March 16 at 10:00 a.m. MST. We will briefly review the opportunity, discuss GNIRS commissioning status, and then take questions from the community. In order to connect to the Webcast, or to download the necessary software, visit www.noao.edu/usgp/gnirs_key_sci_op/webcast.php. You are encouraged to send your questions on the GNIRS Key Science Opportunity, before or during the Webcast, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone them in to 520-318-8421.
As discussed above, NGSC expects the following modes of GNIRS to be offered in semester 2004B: long-slit spectroscopy with resolutions R = 2000 and 6000; cross-dispersed spectroscopy at R=2000 with continuous coverage from 1 to 2.5 microns.