By Stéphanie Côté (CGO, NRC Herzberg / OGC, CNRC Herzberg)
(Cassiopeia – Winter 2020)
DRAGONS Data Reductions Made Easy
DRAGONS, Data Reduction for Astronomy from Gemini Observatory North and South, is the new Python-based official data reduction software for Gemini instruments. The current version is so far available only for imaging modes. Our colleagues at the US NGO have developed data reduction tutorials for DRAGONS as well as the Gemini IRAF packages. The new github repository for DRAGONS contains Jupyter notebooks, written using the DRAGONS Python API, with data reduction examples for imaging modes using Flamingos2, GMOS, GSAOI, and NIRI. There are also extended help files with detailed instructions on how to download the notebooks, install the necessary Python packages, download the raw data from the Gemini Observatory Archive, and run the procedures. The Gemini/IRAF repository contains examples of data reduction scripts of GMOS long-slit spectroscopy with the Hamamatsu and e2v CCDs. New notebooks will become available as new data reduction modes are included in the next DRAGONS software updates. Details can be found here.
MAROON-X Has a New ITC
Maroon-X is a long-term Visiting instrument at Gemini-North. It is a high-resolution (R~80,000) optical (500-920nm), bench-mounted, fiber-fed echelle spectrograph designed to deliver 1 m/s radial velocity precision for M dwarfs down to and beyond V = 16. It now has a new ITC, which can output counts and SNR versus wavelength for selected magnitude, spectral type and observing conditions. In the future, it will also (among other things) give RV precision estimates! The ITC is currently based on the commissioning data from Dec 2019 that has been recalibrated with the more recent data from May and Sep 2020, and will continue to improve. It is available here.
Recent Canadian Gemini Press Releases
A White Dwarf’s Surprise Planetary Companion
On September 14th 2020 an international team of astronomers led by Andrew Vanderburg (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and including Lorne Nelson (Bishop’s University), Bjorn Benneke and Patrick Dufour (University of Montreal), released a Nature paper presenting the first detection of a giant exoplanet orbiting close to a white dwarf star. Normally any close-orbiting planets will be engulfed by its host star during the its red giant phase, but more distant planets can survive this phase and remain in orbit around the resulting white dwarf. Some white dwarfs show evidence for rocky material floating in their atmospheres, in warm debris disks, which has been interpreted as the debris of rocky planets that were scattered inwards and tidally disrupted. For the first time a Jupiter-sized planet, WD1856b, orbiting the white dwarf WD1856+534, was found to have survived intact in or near the white dwarf habitable zone, using GNIRS at Gemini-North. This can give us a small hope that our Solar System might be able to survive our Sun’s demise into a white dwarf in a few billion years from now. The press release can be found here and the Nature paper here.