«2014 Annual Progress Report and 2015 Program Plan of the Gemini Observatory Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. ...»
2014 Annual Progress Report
and 2015 Program Plan of the
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.
1 Executive Summary
2 Introduction and Overview
3 Science Highlights
3.1! First Science Results from GPI
3.2! A Planet Far from Its Host Star
3.3! Extreme Volcanoes on Io
3.4! The Origin of an Ultracompact Dwarf Galaxy and Its Black Hole.................. 6!
3.5! Galaxy-Wide Outflows Are Common Among Quasars
4.1! Gemini Publications and User Relations
4.2! Operations Summary
4.4! Data Reduction and Software
4.5! User Support
4.6! New Observing Modes
4.7! Telescopes and Enclosures
4.8! Storage and Archiving
4.9! Operations Metrics
4.10! Transition Program
4.11! Administration and Facilities
5 Instrumentation and Facility Development
5.2! GMOS CCD Upgrade
5.6! AO and Other Facility Upgrades
6 Public Outreach and Broadening Participation
6.1! Expanding on a Legacy of Local Community Outreach Programming...... 28!
6.2! Beyond Local Outreach
6.3! Broadening Participation and Workforce Development
7 Administration and Finance
7.2! Organization and Staffing
8 2015 Program Plan
8.1! Overview of 2015
8.2! Science and Engineering Operations in 2015
8.3! Transition Program in 2015
8.4! Instrumentation and Facility Development in 2015
i 8.5! Administration and Facilities and Safety in 2015
8.6! Public Information and Outreach in 2015
8.7! Gemini External Relations in 2015
Appendix A. Acronyms and Abbreviations
Appendix B. Publications by Staff
B.1 Staff Refereed Publications
B.2 Non-Refereed Staff Publications
Appendix C. Publications by Users
Appendix D. Science Programs 2013B and 2014A
Appendix E. Research Staff Effort
Appendix F. Organizational Chart
Appendix G. Report Requirements
Appendix H. 2014Q3 Financial Report
Appendix I. Completion of 2014 Program Plan
& ii 1 Executive Summary The Gemini Observatory consists of twin 8-meter diameter optical/infrared telescopes located on two of the best observing sites on the planet. Locations in the northern and southern hemispheres (Hawai‘i and Chile) provide access to the entire sky. A range of instrumentation provides imaging and spectroscopic capabilities, with enhancements from adaptive optics and specialized instrumentation. The vast majority of activity within the Observatory is dedicated to maintaining and supporting operations on behalf of the international scientific community of the Gemini Partnership. The Observatory’s goal is to enable their scientific progress, as they address problems on all scales of the universe, from the nearby objects in the Solar System to the largest cosmological structures.
Gemini continues to improve its offerings as an efficient and nimble observatory that can respond to users’ needs.
A second pillar of the Observatory is the development of instrumentation and the facilities. These development projects provide novel capabilities for users, through new facility instruments and upgrades to existing ones, on both small and large scales. A third area of continuing attention in 2014 is the Transition Program, which implements fundamental changes to the Observatory that are required for sustainable and worthwhile operation at a significantly reduced budget.
The effect of this activity is evident in the users’ science achievements. We note some of the outstanding results to give a flavor of the range of astronomical interest and use of Gemini. One highlight is the scientific use of the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), a worldleading “extreme” adaptive optics instrument, which has enabled sensitive measurements of extrasolar planets. Other common themes in this year’s science highlights are planetary science and the use of adaptive optics. Overall, the rate of peerreviewed publication based on observations at Gemini continues to increase, and adaptive optics results appear more frequently.
Gemini began offering several new modes for proposing and observing in 2014. Large and Long Programs enable substantial scientific investigations, which exceed the previous limitations of individual Partners. The international community is encouraged to conduct their own observations on site, and a novel system of “priority visitor” observing supports these visits while mitigating against potential weather loss. Gemini also continues to support “queue” observations, which staff execute, according to user choice, which maintains access to the time domain and the rarest observing conditions as needed. The instrument complement at Gemini North was stable and supplemented with visitor instruments, which were popular among the user community. In addition to the introduction of GPI, the offerings at Gemini South were improved with new detectors in the workhorse optical imager and multi-object spectrograph. This upgrade improved performance, especially increasing sensitivity at red wavelengths. Work on the facility near-infrared imager and spectrograph at Gemini South corrected an outstanding image quality problem, and we continued to offer the unique multi-conjugate adaptive optics system with near-infrared imaging.
We completed all the high priority goals for the year within the Development Department.
These included commissioning GPI and introducing it for regular science observations, completing the preliminary design review for the externally contracted facility class instrument, developing new, more flexible options for instrument procurement, and installing the new optical detectors noted above. The new instrument procurement model is being implemented with the latest facility instrument, and the call for feasibility studies has been issued. Additional optional development projects also progressed, including an experiment to use an existing high-resolution optical spectrograph at the CanadaFrance-Hawaii Telescope with Gemini North and contracted work to improve the Gemini South adaptive optics facility.
Gemini supports broadening participation in science and technical fields, and we communicate our activities with the general public. Our flagship public outreach programs, Journey Through the Universe in Hawai‘i and Viaje al Universo in Chile, reached milestones of their tenth and fifth years, respectively. These weeklong programs attracted nearly 20,000 participants through classroom visits and public events.
We released a career awareness program, with a printed brochure, dedicated website, and staff interviews to show the range of opportunities Gemini and other observatories offer. We continued to support strong communications with users through a quarterly newsletter, a monthly electronic newscast, social media, web features, and directed communications. Gemini maintained a vigorous intern program, hosting 18 interns in all areas at both sites.
Fund 2014 Actual Gemini continues to improve the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) 29,579,356 rigor of budget planning and Instrument Development Funds (IDF) 5,181,096 reporting. We introduced a Facilities Development Funds (FDF) 747,168 method for dynamic budget Total 35,507,619 reallocation in 2014, to ensure Table 1-1: 2014 budget by fund, values in US dollars. that funds are available to support unexpected projects. Table 1-1 summarizes the budget, distinguishing funds for Operations and Maintenance (O&M), the Instrument Development Fund (IDF), and the Facility Development Fund (FDF). O&M spending exceeded Partner contributions in 2014 as planned, relying on past unspent funds to smooth the transition to a reduced budget. The most significant sources of variance compared with the original planned budget in O&M are the favorable foreign exchange rate of the United States dollar compared with the Chilean peso and hiring lag. IDF variance is due to contractors’ in meeting milestones, which deferred payments. The staffing levels remained stable over the year, with an average of 181.4 full-time equivalents (FTEs; summarized in Table 1-2).
2 Introduction and Overview Gemini Observatory’s mission is To advance our knowledge of the Universe by providing the international Gemini Community with forefront access to the entire sky.
This annual progress report shows the 2014 activities toward fulfilling this mission. The starting point is the twin 8-meter telescopes and their instrument capabilities that are available to the user community of the international Partnership. The Gemini user community’s scientific interests range from the Solar System to the most distant galaxies and quasars, and Gemini Observatory’s variety of optical and infrared imagers and spectrometers are sufficiently flexible to enable this broad range of exploration. More specialized capabilities, including new options such as the Gemini Planet Imager in 2014, are also available for general use. Overall Gemini aims to be a flexible observatory, responding to users’ needs and enabling their science. Continuing innovations over the last year demonstrate this commitment to fulfill users’ requirements in novel ways.
Gemini maintains four instruments and adaptive optics (AO) capabilities at each site.
Three science instruments and the AO facility remain mounted and potentially available for use at any time. Gemini offers a range of proposal modes, including standard semester-based proposals that are evaluated by the Partner National Time Allocation Committees (NTACs) and a new annual opportunity to apply for Large and Long Programs, which are evaluated by a dedicated multi-partner TAC. Observations may be conducted by Gemini staff scientists as part of the queue, or by visiting astronomers, according to user choice. We introduced innovative options for visiting observers to mitigate the effects of weather loss.
Section 3 shows some of the scientific highlights, which include results based on observations with the new Gemini Planet Imager (GPI). Section 4 reports on Operations, which covers the daily preparations and nightly use of the telescopes. Summaries of user publications and user interactions, new proposing and observing modes, and Observatory metrics are included. Progress toward executing the Transition Program, Gemini’s fundamental changes in response to the loss of a 25% share partner, is also described. Section 5 shows accomplishments in instrumentation and facility development, including adaptive optics capabilities, progress on new facility-class instrumentation, and upgrades of existing instruments. The educational programs, efforts toward broadening participation, and communications for users and the general public that the Public Information and Outreach group leads appear in Section 6. Section 7 summarizes administration and finance. (A complete financial report is included as an appendix.) Section 8 contains the program plan for 2015.
3 Science Highlights Partner community astronomers are responsible for the scientific results that make use of the Observatory. They take advantage of both telescopes and all their instruments to advance the scientific frontiers. Gemini aims to be a flexible, responsive observatory, where users’ needs drive operations, and the resulting discoveries are evidence of this successful response.
3.1 First Science Results from GPI Commissioning of the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) was completed in 2014, and astronomers from the international Partnership and beyond have already made use of its outstanding capabilities to produce results. The first light and fundamental instrument paper led by Principal Investigator Bruce Macintosh of Stanford (Macintosh et al. 2014 PNAS 111 12661; Figure 3-1) also provides new astrometry of the planetary companion to the star Beta Pictoris, (β Pic b). The small errors in the present measurement combined with the relatively long timespan since the first observations provide the best estimate of the planet-star separation: 9.0 (+0.8, -0.4) astronomical units (AU). The corresponding period is 20.5 (+2.9, -1.3) years.
With these detailed measurements of the planet’s orbit, the researchers predict that a transit is possible (though unlikely) in late 2017. Such a transit would provide unique opportunities to measure the planet’s size. The orbital measurements also explain why the planet was not detected in imaging around 2007, when it would have been extremely close (in projection) to β Pic (Figure 3-2).
Currently the planet is detectable in a single 60-second exposure obtained with GPI.
With previous instruments, similarly sensitive observations would have required an hour.
The new work shows that the planet is not aligned with the main debris disk of the host star. Instead, it likely interacted with an inner warped component of the disk.
3.2 A Planet Far from Its Host Star Unusually, Marie-Ève Naud (Université de Montréal) et al. (2014 ApJ 787 5) did not require extreme adaptive optics or very high contrast to directly image the planetary companion of GU Piscium (GU Psc b). This companion, which has a mass of about 11MJupiter, is located about 2000 AU from its host star, or 42 arcseconds on the sky (Figure 3-3). The target was selected from among a larger survey using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrographs (GMOS) at both telescopes to search in regions of young stars for objects with very red colors. Young stars potentially host detectable planets, since the planets cool and become fainter over time, and the red colors are characteristic of their intrinsically low temperatures.
Previously, members of the team had Figure 3-3: The planet GU Psc b and its star GU identified star GU Psc as a likely Psc. This image combines visible observations member of a young group with an age using GMOS on Gemini South with an IR image around 100 Myr (Malo et al. 2013 ApJ from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. GU Psc 762 88). b appears red in this image because it is brighter in the infrared than in other filters.