SED Machine Cam 3/4 & Gemini Observatory Future

SED Machine Camera 3/4 Doublet

Marin Anderson [CIT] and I bonded SED machine doublet camera elements 3/4 today. The camera is a 125-mm f/5 Petzval-style lens made of Ohara PBL26Y (n 1.57 and Abbe 42.8) and Heraeus fused silica (n 1.46 and Abbe 68). Lens centration is expected to be better than 30 micron or so.

Camera 3/4

Camera 3/4 doublet - a success. Cam 3/4 was bonded on 14-Dec 2012.

Gemini Capabilities

Talk by Gemini director at Caltech.

The Partnership 2013-2015

Annual budget 2013: ~ 27 M ops + 4 M instrumentation

Country Share Cost
US 65.50  
CA 18.65  
BR 6.53  
AU 6.21 ~ 1.7 M / yr
AR 3.11  

Gemini 2016-2018

Australia is not sure about plans post 2015. The board will work to find potential new parties.

The Observatory

About 180 employees distributed over two sites. Not staffed to build own instruments. [Note: Keck has ~115 at one site].

Random note: no naysmith platforms for Gemini which makes Highres spec hard. Five casegrin ports but two are used for AO + Calibration. Any given time there are three instruments.

New instruments: GRACES [March/April first test], GHOS, Flamingos-2, and GPI. Dying: Michelle, T-ReCS

GPI commissioning July 2013.

How to Remain Competitive in the Next Decade?

Future is ALMA, JWST, and how to profit most with these synergies?

New opportunites in instrumentation. The observatory will build a complement of facility class instruments to cover broad parameter space. New instrument every 2-3 years and thus cycle through all instruments takes about 20 years.

R&D is $100 K / year Upgrades $500 K / year

Next strategic instrument (GIROS; xshooter). Requirements:

  • Workhorse
  • Science driven and include science cases. Synergies with LSST, JWST, ALMA, etc..
  • Wide bandwidth moderate-resolution spectrograph is the current best leading instrument by the committee's opinion.

[QUESTION: Who are the forerunners?]

React to a science case and deploy on a short schedule provide visitor instruments by the community. Gemini now wants to encourage visitor instruments.

  • Instrument is certified
  • Apply for time via TAC
  • Install and observe
  • Typical visit is 2 weeks. Instrument can be offered to community during two weeks.
  • Large programs to request campaigns.

Two examples of visitor instruments

DSSI: Speckle imaging. Got 20 mas resolution at 700 nm, offering instrument to community. PI (Howell, NASA AMES).

TEXES returns to gemini. On IRTF since 2000. Operates between 4.5 and 25 µ with 0.5% spectral coverage at high (R~80 K) resolution with a 2" - 5" long slit. Team helps with proposals and data reudciton.

The team must support: John Lacy [PI], Richter (UCDavis), Greathouse (Solar System), Jaffe (UT A).

New Ways of Operating

Large/long programs at Gemini. The board has agreed to place 20% of the time in a pool for large/long programs. Implementation is being worked out but starts in 2014A.

Want high-impact science.

Also are considering putting some ten of percent of time in monthly proposal deadlines. Many possible issues and potential problems being considered and explored: partner percentage, rejected proposals, how long to remain in queue? The advantage is you can win 12 months over the competition.


  • Some unique facility class instruments: GeMS, and GPI.
  • It's possible to bring your instrument to the telescope.
  • Chance to propose large, ground-breaking programs.
  • Unique flexibility in time domain for edge over competition.


  • Some interest in continuing to use MICHELLE in visiting mode.
  • Fast track queue idea is intriguing. If review urgency is an important criteria, then you must observe it quickly.
  • Noticed nothing in far IR (+mm). Cannot look beyond 20 µ from ground.
  • Visitor instruments comment. Keck SSC considered visitor instruments as valuable about ten years ago. Complaint of visitor instruments is that they are too costly to commission. Gemini has had good experiences (compared to Keck) and believes visitor instruments are a good future step.