Adaptive Optics (AO) systems aim at detecting and correcting for optical distortions induced by atmospheric turbulences. The Gemini Multi Conjugated AO System GeMS is operational and regularly used for science observations since 2013 delivering close to diffraction limit resolution over a large field of view. GeMS entered this year into a new era. The laser system has been upgraded from the old 50W Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies (LMCT) pulsed laser to the Toptica 20/2W CW SodiumStar laser. The laser has been successfully commissioned and is now used regularly in operation. In this paper we first review the performance obtained with the instrument. I will go then into the details of the commissioning of the Toptica laser and show the improvements obtained in term of acquisition, stability, reliability and performance.
AO systems aim at detecting and correcting for optical distortions induced by atmospheric turbulences. They are also extremely sensitive to extraneous sources of perturbation such as vibrations, which degrade the performance. The Gemini South telescope has currently two main AO systems: the Gemini Multi Conjugated AO System GeMS and the Gemini Planet Imager GPI. GeMS is operational and regularly used for science observation delivering close to diffraction limit resolution over a large field of view (85×85 arcsec<sup>2</sup>). Performance limitation due to the use of an integrator for tip-tilt control is here explored. In particular, this type of controller does not allow for the mitigation of vibrations with an arbitrary natural frequency. We have thus implemented a tip-tilt Linear Quadratic Gaussian (LQG) controller with different underlying perturbation models: (<i>i</i>) a sum of autoregressive models of order 2 identified from an estimated power spectrum density (s-AR2) of the perturbation,<sup>1</sup> already tested on CANARY<sup>2</sup> and routinely used on SPHERE;<sup>3</sup> (<i>ii</i>) cascaded ARMA models of order 2 identified using prediction error minimization (c-PEM) as proposed in.<sup>4, 5</sup> Both s-AR2 and c-PEM were parameterized to produce tip or tilt state-space models up to order 20 and 30 respectively. We discuss the parallelized implementation in the real time computer and the expected performance. On-sky tests are scheduled during the November 2016 run or the January 2017 run.
GeMS, the Gemini South MCAO System, has now been in operation for 3 years with the near infrared imager GSAOI. We first review the performance obtained by the system, the science cases and the current operational model. In the very near future, GeMS will undergo a profound metamorphosis, as we will integrate a new NGS wavefront sensor, replace the current 50W laser with a more robust one and prepare for a new operational model where operations will shift from the mountain to the base facility. Along this major evolution, we are also presenting several improvements on the loop control, calibrations and automatization of this complex system. We discuss here the progress of the different upgrades and what we expect in terms of performance improvements and operational efficiency.
NGS2 is an upgrade for the multi-natural guide star tip-tilt & plate scale wavefront sensor for GeMS (Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics system). It uses a single Nüvü HNü-512 Electron-Multiplied CCD array that spans the entire GeMS wavefront sensor focal plane. Multiple small regions-of-interest are used to enable frame rates up to 800Hz. This set up will improve the optical throughput with respect to the current wavefront sensor, as well as streamline acquisition and allow for distortion compensation.
Both Gemini telescopes, in Hawaii and Chile, are located in highly seismic active areas. That means that the seismic protection is included in the structural design of the telescope, instruments and auxiliary structure. We will describe the specific design features to reduce permanent damage in case of major earthquakes. At this moment both telescopes have been affected by big earthquakes in 2006 and 2015 respectively. There is an opportunity to compare the original design to the effects that are caused by these earthquakes and analyze their effectiveness.<p> </p> The paper describes the way the telescopes responded to these events, the damage that was caused, how we recovered from it, the modifications we have done to avoid some of this damage in future occasions, and lessons learned to face this type of events. Finally we will cover on how we pretend to upgrade the limited monitoring tools we currently have in place to measure the impact of earthquakes.
The Gemini Multi-conjugate adaptive optics System (GeMS) at the Gemini South telescope in Cerro Pachon is the first sodium Laser Guide Star (LGS) adaptive optics (AO) system with multiple guide stars. It uses five LGSs and two deformable mirrors (DMs) to measure and compensate for distortions induced by atmospheric turbulence. After its 2012 commissioning phase, it is now transitioning into regular operations. Although GeMS has unique scientific capabilities, it remains a challenging instrument to maintain, operate and upgrade. In this paper, we summarize the latest news and results. First, we describe the engineering work done this past year, mostly during our last instrument shutdown in 2013 austral winter, covering many subsystems: an erroneous reconjugation of the Laser guide star wavefront sensor, the correction of focus field distortion for the natural guide star wavefront sensor and engineering changes dealing with our laser and its beam transfer optics. We also describe our revamped software, developed to integrate the instrument into the Gemini operational model, and the new optimization procedures aiming to reduce GeMS time overheads. Significant software improvements were achieved on the acquisition of natural guide stars by our natural guide star wavefront sensor, on the automation of tip-tilt and higher-order loop optimization, and on the tomographic non-common path aberration compensation. We then go through the current operational scheme and present the plan for the next years. We offered 38 nights in our last semester. We review the current system efficiency in term of raw performance, completed programs and time overheads. We also present our current efforts to merge GeMS into the Gemini base facility project, where night operations are all reliably driven from our La Serena headquarter, without the need for any spotter. Finally we present the plan for the future upgrades, mostly dedicated toward improving the performance and reliability of the system. Our first upgrade called NGS2, a project lead by the Australian National University, based a focal plane camera will replace the current low throughput natural guide wavefront sensor. On a longer term, we are also planning the (re-)integration of our third deformable mirror, lost during the early phase of commissioning. Early plans to improve the reliability of our laser will be presented.
The Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GeMS) began its on-sky commissioning in January 2011.
The system provides high order wide field corrections using a constellation of five Laser Guide Stars. In December 2011, commissioning culminated in images with a FWHM of 80±2mas at 1.65 microns (H band) over an 87 x 87 arcsecond field of view. The first images have already demonstrated the scientific potential of GeMS, and after more than a year of commissioning GeMS is finally close to completion and ready for science. This paper presents a general status of the GeMS project and summarizes the achievements made during more than a year of commissioning. The characterization of GeMS performance is presented in a companion paper: “GeMS on-sky results”, Rigaut et al. Here we report on the sub-systems' performance, discuss current limitations and present proposed upgrades. The integration of GeMS into the observatory operational scheme is detailed. Finally, we present the plans for next year's operations with GeMS.
The Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (GeMS} began its on-sky commissioning in January 20ll. The system provides high order wide-field corrections using a constellation of five Laser Guide Stars. In December 20ll, commissioning culminated in images with a FWHM of 80±2mas at 1.65 microns (H band} over an 87 x 87 arcsccond field of view. The first images have already demonstrated the scientific potential of GeMS, and after more than a year of commissioning GeMS is finally close to completion and ready for science. This paper presents a general status of the GeMS project and summarizes the achievements made during more than a year of commissioning. The characterization of GeMS performance is presented in a companion paper: "GeMS on-sky results" , R.igaut ct al. Here we report on the sub-systems' performance, discuss current limitations and present proposed upgrades. The integration of GeMS into the observatory operational scheme is detailed. Finally, we present the plans for next year's operations with GeMS.
GeMS, the Gemini Laser Guide Star Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics facility system, has seen first light in December 2011, and has already produced images with H band Strehl ratio in excess of 35% over fields of view of 85x85 arcsec, fulfilling the MCAO promise. In this paper, we report on these early results, analyze trends in performance, and concentrate on key or novel aspects of the system, like centroid gain estimation, on-sky non common path aberration estimation. We also present the first astrometric analysis, showing very encouraging results.
With two to three deformable mirrors, three Natural Guide Stars (NGS) and five sodium Laser Guide Stars (LGS), the
Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (Gemini MCAO a.k.a. GeMS) will be the first facility-class MCAO
capability to be offered for regular science observations starting in 2013A. The engineering and science commissioning
phase of the project was kicked off in January 2011 when the Gemini South Laser Guide Star Facility (GS LGSF)
propagated its 50W laser above the summit of Cerro Pachón, Chile. GeMS commissioning has proceeded throughout
2011 and the first half of 2012 at a pace of one 6- to 10-night run per month with a 5-month pause during the 2011
This paper focuses on the LGSF-side of the project and provides an overview of the LGSF system and subsystems, their
top-level specifications, design, integration with the telescope, and performance throughout commissioning and beyond.
Subsystems of the GS LGSF include: (i) a diode-pumped solid-state 1.06+1.32 micron sum-frequency laser capable of
producing over 50W of output power at the sodium wavelength (589nm); (ii) Beam Transfer Optics (BTO) that transport
the 50W beam up the telescope, split the beam five-ways and configure the five 10W beams for projection by the Laser
Launch Telescope (LLT) located behind the Gemini South 8m telescope secondary mirror; and (iii) a variety of safety
systems to ensure safe laser operations for observatory personnel and equipment, neighbor observatories, as well as
passing aircrafts and satellites.
We will discuss the implementation and calibration of a new GPS based water vapor monitor installed at Cerro Pachón for the Gemini Observatory in Chile. The primary goal of this system is the use of GPS signals to monitor the Precipitable Water Vapor (PWV) in the atmosphere in near-realtime. This is vital in maximizing the efficiency of queue observations in the thermal infrared in which atmospheric transmission and sensitivity is highly dependent on PWV. The GPS WV system was calibrated using near-IR spectroscopy of known water lines based on atmosphere models and imaging the thermal mid-IR background. Observations were conducted using the near-IR imager/spectrometer Phoenix for K, L, and M-band spectroscopy (2.2μm, 3.5μm, 4.5μm) and the mid-infrared imager/spectrometer T-ReCS imaging between 8-20 μm.