By / par Stéphanie Côté (CGO, NRC Herzberg / OGC, CNRC Herzberg)
(Cassiopeia – Autumn / l’automne 2020)
GRACES Has a New Integration Time Calculator
GRACES, the Gemini Remote Access to CFHT ESPaDOnS Spectrograph, has now a new Python script for its Integration Time Calculator. This is something that Canadian users have been requesting for a while. The older ITC was running as an IDL script, which meant that students needed to pay to have the IDL license to use it. This old IDL script is still available, for reference purposes only; it has many bugs and has not been updated. We strongly recommend users to use the new Python script that has been recalibrated and has many new features too. It is able to to determine limiting magnitudes, exposure times, S/N ratios, background levels, etc., for all the available GRACES configurations, any kind of observing conditions, and various types of targets. For all the information about download and use, see here.
Recent Canadian Gemini Press Releases
Fast Radio Burst Observations Deepen Astronomical Mystery
On January 5th an international team of astronomers led by Benito Marcote (JIVE, Dwingeloo) and including S. P. Tendulkar, M. Bhardwaj, V. M. Kaspi, D. Michilli, B. Andersen, P. J. Boyle, C. Brar, P. Chawla, M. Dobbs, E. Fonseca, A. Josephy, A. Naidu, C. Patel, Z. Pleunis, S. R. Siegel & A. V. Zwaniga (McGill University), announced the successful localization, thanks to Gemini-North, of a repeating Fast Radio Burst to the spiral arm of a nearby massive spiral galaxy. FRB180916.J0158+65 was first discovered by CHIME in 2018, and the European VLBI network was then used to pinpoint precisely its location. Follow-up observations with GMOS-N on Gemini-North allowed to measure its distance and the chemical enrichment of its environment. This FRB is one of only 5 with a precisely known location and only the second one amongst such sources that shows repeated bursts. This FRB’s spiral galaxy host is at z=0.034 and thus it is the closest known example to Earth so far. Because it is located in an environment much different than seen previously, this result is challenging theories on the origin of these pulses. The press release can be found here and the Nature paper here.
Gemini Detects Most Energetic Wind from Distant Quasar
On April 14th a press release was published about the discovery of the most energetic quasar wind ever measured. The ApJ paper led by Hyunseop Choi (University of Oklahoma) and including Sarah Gallagher (University of Western Ontario and Canadian Space Agency), shows that SDSSJ135246.37+423923.5 has an outflow travelling at -38000 km/s (=13% of the speed of light), with a velocity width of ~10000km/s, which is the largest outflow velocity measured to date. The supermassive black hole powering this quasar has been weighted at 8.6 x 109 solar mass. The outflow is sweeping away enough energy to be able to dramatically impact star formation across an entire galaxy.
Young Planets Bite the Dust
On June 24 the GPIES (Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey) Team published a press release on their collection of dusty debris disks around young stars observed with GPI on Gemini-South. The AJ paper is led by Thomas Esposito (U of California, Berkeley) and includes Sebastian Bruzzone, Stan Metchev (U of Western Ontario), René Doyon, Julien Rameau (U de Montréal), Ruobing Dong (U of Victoria), Zachary Draper, Benjamin Gerard, Christian Marois, Brenda Matthews (NRC, U of Victoria). The polarimetric images of these 26 objects constitute the largest collection of sharp detailed images, with highly uniform data quality, of dusty debris disks around young stars. The young stars studied varies from tens of millions to hundreds of millions years old. Gaps and warps created by forming planets are visible in their dust disks. These images reveal the great variety of shapes and sizes that stellar systems can take during their infancy. The press release can be found here.