GEMMA — Gemini In The Era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy

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The GEMMA program is funded by a multi-million dollar award from the National Science Foundation to advance the leadership role of Gemini Observatory, a NOIRLab Program, in the era of Multi-Messenger Astronomy (MMA). The program has been designed to maximize synergies with the transformative facilities coming online in the near future. The projects within GEMMA specifically focus on the areas of high spatial resolution and rapid-response astronomy. GEMMA has three projects.

The Gemini North Adaptive Optics (GNAO) upgrade project will deliver the first queue-operated multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) system in the northern hemisphere. The GNAO effort will build on experience with the Gemini Multi-conjugate System (GeMS) at Gemini South, but it will employ the latest technologies for improved performance in support of the next generation of AO-assisted instruments at Gemini North. With a corrected field of view of about 2 arcminutes and spatial resolution similar to that of JWST, GNAO will take advantage of Maunakea’s outstanding conditions for AO performance and establish Gemini North as the premier ground-based facility for wide-field AO studies.

The Time Domain Astronomy (TDA) project will develop the infrastructure for incorporating Gemini’s telescopes into the Astronomical Event Observatory Network (AEON), an efficient new system for following up transients identified by the LSST, LIGO, and other time-domain and multi-messenger surveys. The goal of this effort is to maximize Gemini’s contributions to discoveries in the TDA era, and Gemini will provide the largest aperture within AEON to enable studies of the faintest, highest-priority targets. The TDA project also includes the development of automated data pipelines for rapid delivery of science-quality reduced data so that users can assess the outcome of their observations in real time.

GEMMA enables Gemini Observatory to expand on its legacy of ambitious public information and outreach initiatives. The basis for this expanded outreach is MMA and the role of Gemini and other ground-based facilities in this new discovery arena. Specifically, the GEMMA public information and outreach initiatives include a multimedia planetarium program to illustrate MMA concepts, classroom materials to promote careers in related science and technology fields, training workshops for science writers, and an ambitious MMA summit to establish a charter for the public communication of MMA concepts and discoveries.

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