Call for Proposals – GSAOI observations on the Gemini South telescope in Semester 2022A

Gemini South
This image of Gemini South shows the result of the Gemini Multi-conjugate adaptive optics System (GeMS) with the Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI) propagating a laser guide star toward the zenith. Credit: The Gemini Observatory/Manuel Paredes.

AAL is pleased to announce a Call for Proposals for Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI) observations in Semester 2022A (1 February 2022 – 31 July 2022). 

The deadline for this call is 5:00pm AEDT, Tuesday 5 October 2021.

The Australian astronomical community will have access to the remaining 2 nights of observing time on Gemini South with the GSAOI. This opportunity is a result of the agreement between AURA and ANU – the team that constructed the NGS2 enhancement to the Gemini South Multi-conjugate adaptive optics system. 

The new NGS2 system allows the use of fainter guide stars – the previous limit with the old system was R=15.5 in good conditions. During commissioning the loop was closed on a R=18 star in average conditions. This results in a huge improvement of the sky coverage for GeMS (2.5 magnitude is approximately equivalent to a gain of 8 times in sky coverage). Acquisition times have also been reduced by almost tenfold.

The ANU team was awarded a total of 7 nights of guaranteed time, which they have kindly offered to the Australian community via this open call for proposals process. This allocation was split between the 2020B and 2021A semesters, however, due to the COVID pandemic the Gemini Observatory has allowed some flexibility and will offer the remaining observing time in 2022A.

The expectation is to have two or three laser runs of 7 nights each during the semester, the actual schedule will be based on the demand from the community.

All new proposals will be reviewed and assessed by the AAT Time Allocation Committee (ATAC).  The observing time will be allocated in ‘classical’ mode, which means that observations will be scheduled for specific nights. The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions prohibit international travel from Australia and it is most likely that this situation will not change in the 2022A Semester. The classical mode observations will be taken by the Gemini Observatory staff, with remote assistance (control) from PI teams. The Observatory has a good experience with such operations and will work with the individual teams to ensure the best strategy for their observations and the quick access to the raw data.

To apply, please submit Gemini proposals using the 2022A release of the Phase I Tool (PIT) that can be downloaded from this link.

Please use the following page for a step-by-step guide and tutorials for submission of proposals using the Phase I Tool: Help Page for the Gemini Phase I Tool (PIT) | Gemini Observatory

Note that you need to select the “Guaranteed Time” option to submit you proposal. 

See here for information about GSAOI and full details on instrument status, as well as the official Gemini Observatory Call for Proposals.

For updates about the COVID-19 measures at the NOIRLab and Gemini South, please see:
Coronavirus COVID-19 Measures at NOIRLab | Gemini Observatory

For more information on ATAC please see AAL’s website, or contact the ATAC Secretariat via [email protected].