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US Gemini Program (1Dec95) (from USGP, NOAO Newsletter No. 44, December 1995) The reader is referred to the Gemini Project Newsletter, which accompanies the NOAO Newsletter this quarter, for a complete update on recent Gemini developments. Watch Gemini Take Shape on Mauna Kea Tune in to the Gemini World Wide Web homepage, (http://www.gemini.edu) to view real-time photos of the construction of the Gemini observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Photos are taken with a digital camera mounted on the CFHT and updated every 15 minutes. The construction photo shows the Hawaii 88" Telescope looming over the foundations of the Gemini support building and telescope pier. [Photo not included] United States Gemini Science Advisory Committee The US Gemini Science Advisory Committee (SAC) met in Tucson in September to consider the proposed Operations Plan for observatory management and other items of programmatic and scientific concern to the US Gemini Program and the US astronomical community. The Operations Plan, discussed in more detail in the Gemini Newsletter, will be considered at the November meeting of the Gemini Board (after the writing of this article). The plan defines both the level of resources to operate the telescopes and those to be used for future instrumentation and upgrades. Among the other items discussed at the SAC meeting was the status of the instruments and related detectors and electronics that are being supplied by the US to the international Gemini partnership. The US office is responsible for procuring and managing the development of a host of first light instruments as well as for planning to enable the US to participate in future Gemini instrumentation (see below). The following new members were welcomed to the ranks of the US SAC: Suzanne Hawley (Michigan State) Buell Jannuzi (NOAO) Bob Joseph (Hawaii) John Tonry (MIT). New US Gemini Board Member Robert Gehrz (Minnesota) was selected to serve the nominal two-year term as a US representative to the Gemini Board of Directors. He will act as Chairman of the Board during the two years the rotating role of chairman is delegated to the US. Bob has had a long association with Gemini, serving as Review Chairman for the Primary Mirror Critical Design Review and of the first Gemini Systems Review as well as having served on various Gemini science advisory committees. James Houck (Cornell) completes his term on the Board at the end of this year. His guidance and support has been most appreciated during these crucial formative years of the Project. The other US Board members are Alan Dressler (Carnegie), Bob Kirshner (Harvard), and Wayne van Citters (NSF). The Gemini Board of Directors is the international governing body of the Gemini Project and is composed of representatives from the Gemini partner countries according to their share in the Project. Gemini Workshop in Montevideo, Uruguay The US Gemini Program was awarded a grant from the International Division of the National Science Foundation to conduct a Gemini workshop at the Latin-American Regional Meeting of the IAU held in Montevideo, Uruguay in late November 1995. The workshop was organized as a joint effort with the Gemini partner countries in South America (Argentina, Brazil, and Chile) for the purpose of fostering closer cooperation among the Gemini partners, to inform South American astronomers about the Gemini Project, and to better understand the scientific aspirations of the South American partners. US attendees to the workshop included scientific and engineering representatives of the US Gemini Program and the Gemini Project, US Gemini Board members Jim Houck and Bob Gehrz, and Barbara Jenkins of the University of Florida, the selected graduate student representative. US Gemini Instrumentation Status Approximately one-half of the initial complement of instruments for the Gemini 8-meter telescopes was assigned to the United States by a motion approved at the April 1994 meeting of the Gemini Board. The US-assigned instruments include all of the infrared instruments (Near-IR Imager, Near-IR Spectrograph, Mid-IR Imager, Near-IR Arrays and controllers), as well as the science CCDs for the optical spectrographs. While not all of these have been started (the schedule for delivery extends all the way to 2001), the following is a review of progress on several of these efforts. The Near-IR Imager was assigned by the NSF to the University of Hawaii. Klaus Hodapp is the lead scientist on this instrument, which passed its conceptual design review last March. This imager will be the first instrument delivered and will be used in the commissioning of the Gemini north telescope. The user will be able to select among three focal plane scales, 0.02", 0.05", and 0.12" per pixel, each imaged by a 1024 x 1024 InSb array. The preliminary design review for the Near-IR Imager is scheduled for June 1996. The Near-IR Spectrograph will be designed and built by NOAO's Instrument Projects Group. Jay Elias (CTIO) is the instrument scientist for this effort. The baseline capabilities proposed for this instrument include coverage of the 1-5 um range using two cameras and a focal plane scale of 0.05"/pixel. A fairly detailed conceptual design was done as a part of the proposal for this instrument, and it will be reviewed, together with potential enhancements and modifications, at a conceptual design review in March 1996. As has been mentioned in the last two Newsletters, the USGP will soon be issuing an announcement of opportunity (AO) to the US community to supply the Mid-IR Imager for Gemini. This AO will precede a procurement which will run in two stages, the first for the conceptual design only. The details of the procurement plan are currently being reviewed by AURA and the National Science Foundation. Kathy Wood, Todd Boroson
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