Gemini Observatory

The Gemini Planet Imager Produces Stunning Observations In Its First Year
Published 1/7/2015 in Gemini Planet Imager Author Franck Marchis
Gemini Observatory Media Advisory For release at the American... read more ❯

Detour on the Route to Chile
Published 11/8/2014 in Gemini Planet Imager Author Jason Wang
Time for my second GPI observing run! And this one is especially exciting as this run will officially start the GPI Exoplanet Survey. Flying down to observe on GPI can be its own adventure though. The closest city to the Gemini South Telescope is La Serena. Coming from the Bay Area, it takes about a full day to get to La Serena, involving at least two layovers (e.g. Dallas and Santiago), and often it doesn't go exactly at planned. This time, our flight from Dallas to Santiago... read more ❯

Snowed In
Published 9/13/2014 in Gemini Planet Imager Author agreenbaum
This week was the fourth commissioning run for GPI and I was happy to be back at Gemini to help. When we arrived it was a little cloudy, but just as beautiful as I remembered. This week predicted an unfavorable forecast; the first several nights battled cloud cover and high winds, which meant a lot of engineering tests and fewer opportunities to actually look at the sky. Clouds make for some really fantastic sunsets, though.   With a the storm rolling in last night with high winds we were unable to open the dome. We stayed over night with the hope of bright... read more ❯

SPIE Montreal for the GPI team: work, social event and a landslide of papers
Published 7/11/2014 in Gemini Planet Imager Author Franck Marchis
Hello all, It was an important week for the Gemini Planet Imager Consortium. Several of us met at SPIE Astro in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to present our work on GPI. Katie Morzinski  wrote a blog post describing the GPI -focused events at the conference, so I will briefly give my perspective. Yesterday, we submitted simultaneously 18 proceedings summarizing the analysis of data collected during the first light runs. I attached at the bottom... read more ❯

Gemini Observatory reveals the GPI programs selected for 2014B
Published 6/30/2014 in Gemini Planet Imager Author Franck Marchis
Some news from Gemini Observatory, Gemini Observatory has revealed the list of observing proposals scheduled in 2014B (the second half of 2014)  that will use the GPI instrument. Those programs focused on the search for companions around nearby stars and also stars known to possess a disk and/or a planet by radial velocity. Other groups are using the quality of data provided by GPI to study planets already imaged with previous instruments, such as the HR8799 system and Beta Pic b. Their goal is the study the atmosphere of those planets and also to collect more astrometric positions to refine the orbit... read more ❯

GPI 3rd commissioning run -- Astrometric calibration with a little help from MagAO
Published 5/15/2014 in Gemini Planet Imager Author Katie Morzinski
Astrometric calibration is critical for GPI: When we see a faint dot near a star, the best way to check whether it is a planet orbiting that star, versus whether it is a background star along the same line-of-sight, is to compare the astrometry at a later date. Astrometry means measuring the stars -- measuring the exact position in arcseconds and angle from North. But to figure out the size of our pixels on the sky, and the orientation of our camera and which way is North, we have to observe known groups of stars and measure their separations and... read more ❯

Tour of the Telescope
Published 5/15/2014 in Gemini Planet Imager Author Jason Wang
Yesterday, we had a chance to see the telescope in all of its glory. And it is HUGE! It really makes you appreciate the amount of equipment you need to directly image these faint extrasolar planets that are orbiting other stars. Andrew, the telescope operator, then pointed the telescope down so that we could get some nice photographs with the 8-meter mirror. Here's my telescope selfie:   The 8 meter mirror is so big it's hard to fit into one single shot. This was the best... read more ❯

GPI 3rd Commissioning Run - Introduction
Published 5/13/2014 in Gemini Planet Imager Author Katie Morzinski
Hello GPI fans - this is my first post at Cosmic Diary. I'm a NASA Sagan postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona and a member of the Gemini Planet Imager science team. While I was at UC-Santa Cruz for my PhD, I worked with the PI, Bruce Macintosh, to develop MEMS deformable mirrors for GPI. These days, I spend a lot of time in Chile commissioning extreme AO systems, which is pretty fun! Specifically, I'm usually working on and blogging about the Magellan AO system, MagAO. But this week, I've come down to Chile... read more ❯

The orbit of the exoplanet Beta Pictoris b - The first peer-reviewed article with GPI
Published 4/4/2014 in Gemini Planet Imager Author Franck Marchis
Following our very successful first light observing runs in late 2013, the first publication based on Gemini Planet Imager observations is now complete!  It has been accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesas part of a special issue on exoplanets, and is now available on Astro-ph. We report in this publication the performance of the Gemini Planet Imager based on the first light tests. The first scientific result demonstrates that right from the start, GPI has been performing well enough to yield new insights into exoplanets: Our astrometric observations from November 2013  gave us important new... read more ❯

Peering at Planets
Published 2/13/2014 in Gemini Planet Imager Author kkornei
Astronomers and engineers recently completed building the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) to study distant solar systems. GPI will obtain high-resolution images of extrasolar planets by blocking the light of stars and detecting the faint thermal glow of orbiting planets. Since the first extrasolar planet was discovered in 1995, thousands of candidate extrasolar planetary systems have... read more ❯