By Eric Steinbring (Canadian Gemini Office, NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre) with contributions from Stéphanie Côté
(Cassiopeia – Winter 2022)
Growth in the CGO and at Gemini
After 15 years of strong, dedicated leadership of the CGO, Stéphanie Côté has passed the baton, and stepped down in the role of Group Leader. I will now take on this role, and thank Stéphanie for her years of faithful guidance and oversight. She will remain in the CGO, and together with Tim Davidge and Joel Roediger, we are now joined by a new member of the CGO team: Wes Fraser. Wes brings deep expertise in planetary science and the Kuiper Belt, and is involved in coordinating participation in the Vera Rubin Observatory and its Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). We all look forward to helping Canadian astronomers get the most from Canada’s premier optical/near-infrared facilities. Gemini Observatory itself is hiring; both tenure-track Scientific Staff and Science Fellow positions, along with a Postdoctoral Research Fellow position, especially intended for that indivdual to have the opportunity to engage in meaningful diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) activities. Please see the latest job advertisements for details and the closing dates.
Semester 2023A was the third semester for which it was requested in Canada to write the proposals anonymously following the Dual-Anonymous Review Process (DARP). Over each of these three semesters the success rates of women PI proposals has been higher than men PI proposals, which had never happened in the previous 6 years that we had monitored this. The difference in success rates between women and men PI proposals is becoming smaller, which is what you might expect, with the goal that these rates oscillate around zero eventually.
It is most important for Canadians to become familiar with these DARP guidelines as many other astronomical facilities have implemented similar requirements for their observing proposals (NASA, ALMA, ESO amongst others), and might reject a DARP non-compliant proposal.
We were pleased to see that the great majority of Gemini proposals for 2023A successfully followed the DARP guidelines, however we still received 6 proposals that did not (= 19% of proposals). Those proposals had made an effort to follow DARP but had one minor slip. This minor slip always happened in the same context, which was when referring to some of their previous observations, or other related accepted programs. Here we remind you again on how to write DARP-approved texts in these situations:
- Do not refer to previous observing programs at any observatories in an identifying fashion, including past Gemini programs. Replace “We have observe this galaxy in our previous 2023A program”, instead say “GN-2023A-Q33 observed this galaxy previously”, without taking ownership for the program, ie: never say “Our GN-2023A-Q33 program”.
- Same goes if your targets are selected by one of your past or ongoing surveys on another facility or are Target-of-Opportunity targets to be triggered by data from another of your programs. Replace “Our targets were selected from our 1.45 micron WIRCAM imaging survey of this star-forming region from our program 21BC08”, say instead “Our targets were selected by the 1.45 micron WIRCAM imaging survey of this star-forming region from program 21BC08”.
- And same goes if you need to refer to an accepted proposal at another facility for which you have not yet received data. Replace “These data will complement our NIRSPec data from our accepted JWST program 1686 PI=Smith”, say simply “These data will complement the NIRSpec data to be acquired by JWST program 1686”. Do not take ownership of the program.
In all these cases when it is written anonymously in this way it does not make it obvious if you are the PI or Co-I of this other previous/future program, or have an arrangement with a co-I to get the data, or maybe are simply ready to scavenge the archives when the data are made public.
Please make sure to consult the ‘DARP guidelines’ page for your future Gemini proposals, and feel free to consult with us (CGO at Gemini@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca) before the deadline in case of doubt or questions.
New Instrument, New Opportunities
The Gemini High-resolution Optical SpecTrograph (GHOST) is now on sky at Gemini South, and is completing its commissioning phase. This is a next step, following along a well-honed track of Canadian expertise in high-resolution optical spectroscopy, a prior one being Gemini Remote Access to CFHT ESPaDOnS Spectrograph (GRACES) at Gemini North. GRACES is also fibre-fed, running to that Canada France Hawaii Telescope instrument. Just this year a Gemini press release has highlighted a stream of old stars detected, via GRACES, at the edge of the Galaxy as a “shredded” star cluster: C-19. From that press release: “GRACES provided the critical clues that C-19 is a disrupted globular cluster and not the more common disrupted dwarf galaxy,” explained Kim Venn of the University of Victoria, the lead investigator for the GRACES observations. “We already knew that this was a very metal-poor stream, but identifying it as a globular cluster required the precision metallicities and detailed chemical abundances only available with high-resolution spectra.”
Got a big, new idea? Gemini is calling for letters of intent for Large and Long Proposals, to begin in semester 2023B. Letters are due by 13 February 2023. The deadline for full proposals will be 1 April 2023. See the official Call for Proposals for more information, including all the available instrument resources here. Don’t forget Fast Turnaround! The next deadline will be at noon Hawai’i Standard Time on 31 December 2022; in the South you can ask for GMOS-S (Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph) and F2 (Flamingos 2), available for most of this coming cycle, while IGRINS (Immersion Grating INfrared Spectroph) and Zorro (speckle imaging) are expected to be available for at least part of that time. The latest news on Gemini North, which had been in regular maintenance shutdown since 10 October, but then offline longer due to an incident during mirror maintenance, is that the Observatory expects to complete repairs in January. It should return to nighttime operations sometime in late February; the 2023A semester programs have been planned out to adjust for that.