The Gemini Observatory has a strong commitment to meeting the user community's scientific needs. This means providing a strong suite of instruments with broad applicability: those that can handle the largest share of science return as well as more unique instruments, some of which might have narrow scope but potentially high impact. Recognizing that building a new Facility Instrument is expensive and typically takes more than 5 years, we have developed the Visiting Instrument Program, which allows investigators to bring their own innovative instruments to either Gemini telescope. To be accepted, all visiting instruments must demonstrate their competitiveness via the regular time allocation process. The majority of successful instruments are made available to our broader user community within one semester of being commissioned at the telescope. Visiting Instruments are operated by the instrument team while on Gemini, and are not fully integrated to Gemini control and data reduction software. The instrument team is responsible for providing reduced data and/or a data reduction pipeline to PIs when the instrument is made available to the community, as well as providing technical assessments of any community proposals. In any given semester, as many as three Visiting Instruments at each telescope might be listed in the Call for Proposals. The availability of the instrument at either Gemini telescope is determined by popularity with proposers, by pressure from other instruments and programs, and of course by the willingness of the instrument team to allow the use of the instrument at Gemini.
Alison B. Peck, Andrew J. Adamson, Scot J. Kleinman, Laura Ferrarese, Stephen J. Goodsell, and Markus Kissler-Patig, "Visiting instruments as part of a strategic plan," Proc. SPIE 10704, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII, 107041Q (Presented at SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation: June 15, 2018; Published: 10 July 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2315870.
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