sci22106 — Announcement
Gemini North Shutdown Extended Following Incident During Mirror Movement
December 27, 2022
Update 22 December 2022
The NOIRLab Gemini North recovery team has made significant progress with preparations for repair work on the primary mirror. The Gemini North Primary Mirror Independent Review Board met on 12 December and endorsed the new Gemini mirror handling procedures, which is a key milestone for the return to science operations. The repair plan includes: a series of preparatory tests, safety procedures, and environmental control during the repairs; removal of the lateral pad next to the damaged area; glass repair work; replacement of the lateral actuator pad; and post-repair assessment and tests.
An updated estimate of when Gemini North will return to nighttime science operations is the end of March or early April 2023. Given this updated schedule, the Observatory is planning to delay the Gemini South telescope shutdown and primary mirror coating, originally planned for April 2023, to ensure that at least one Gemini telescope is available to the community, particularly during the next potential LIGO run.
We remain confident that Gemini North will recover fully from this incident and look forward to observations with a newly coated mirror in the near future.
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