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NOAO Newsletter - US Gemini Program - June 2000 - Number 62


First Science: The Gemini Demonstration Science Program

Bob Schommer

The International Gemini Observatory received 22 letters of intent for the Demonstration Science Program, 12 from principal investigators in the US and 1 from Brazil, with significant US participation. In creating the Demonstration Science teams, the Gemini Project Scientists considered issues of international participation, team logistics and responsibilities, as well as scientific value and appropriateness. The two projects selected are a 10-mm deep field, led by P. Puxley (IGPO), and the Galactic Center AO program, led by F. Rigaut (IGPO). About half of the letters were new suggestions and half were offers to sign onto these two IGPO teams. Teams are now being put together. Both the teams will have significant US participation, including members of the USGP instrument support staff. The AO team will include participation of staff at the Center for Adaptive Optics (U. California, Santa Cruz).

Interestingly, the Demonstration Science letters of interest were 2:1 in favor of OSCIR projects, so the mid-IR capabilities are, as envisioned, an important component of the Gemini Observatory, even at this early stage.

We are very encouraged by the extent and content of the response to the Demonstration Science Program and thank all those who submitted letters. Many of the alternative suggested projects would be excellent regular Gemini PI-led efforts. The strong response from the US community will allow the Gemini project and instrument teams to attempt the first science programs and understand the parameters and capabilities of the system, which should provide important information for the next round of Gemini proposals from the community.


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