US NGO and Gemini Observatory at the AAS #243 Meeting

US NGO Splinter Session: The Present and Future of Exoplanet Science with the Gemini Observatory

Wednesday, January 10, 2024, 2:00 - 3:30 pm. New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 215 (AAS schedule).

SOC: Vinicius Placco (Chair, NSF's NOIRLab/CSDC), Susan Ridgway (NSF's NOIRLab/CSDC), Siyi Xu (NSF's NOIRLab/Gemini), Emily Deibert (NSF's NOIRLab/Gemini), David Jones (NSF's NOIRLab/Gemini), Zachary Hartman (NSF's NOIRLab/Gemini)

The US National Gemini Office, at the Community Science and Data Center/NSF’s NOIRLab, in collaboration with the Gemini Observatory, proposes a Splinter Meeting at the 243th AAS Meeting in New Orleans, 7-11 January 2024. The meeting is part of a planned series where astronomers showcase their scientific results based on Gemini observations, focusing on a particular topic. The main topic for the proposed Splinter Meeting is the Present and Future of Exoplanet Science with the Gemini Observatory. For the scientific program, we focus on specific areas of exoplanet science where Gemini has made significant contributions, such as exoplanet detection and characterization.

The Splinter Session is open to all interested. During its 90-minute duration, it will include a short introduction and five invited science talks, including an overview of future opportunities/instrumentation for exoplanet science at the Gemini Observatory, including MAROON-X, GHOST, GPI-2, and IGRINS-2. The invited speakers are at the forefront of Exoplanet research using Gemini capabilities.

Tom Esposito (University of California, Berkeley) - Upgrading High-Contrast Imaging of Exoplanetary Systems with GPI 2.0 at Gemini North

Click here for the presentation slides (PDF)

The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is a dedicated high-contrast imaging facility instrument designed for the direct detection and characterization of young Jupiter-mass exoplanets and circumstellar disks at near-infrared wavelengths. After seven successful years operating at Gemini South, GPI is undergoing science-driven upgrades before its relocation to Gemini North. We will recap some of the many science results from GPI's first iteration, including establishing the occurrence rate of giant planets at wide orbital separations and resolving the morphologies of dozens of dusty debris disks on scales of 1–200 au via polarized light as windows into the epoch of planet formation. Looking forward, we will discuss how GPI 2.0's deeper contrasts and enhanced performance on fainter stars will enable new exoplanetary system science, with increased sensitivity to "cold-start" planets at small angular separations and debris disks around low mass stars that have not been thoroughly explored as of yet. Finally, we will highlight a recent example of GPI discoveries yielding further insights when followed up with complementary observations from space telescopes.


Madison Brady (University of Chicago) - The HUMDRUM Survey of Nearby Transiting M Dwarf Planets with MAROON-X: An Update

M dwarfs give us a unique opportunity to precisely study the formation, composition, and habitability of rocky planets. The MAROON-X spectrograph has optical/NIR coverage and exquisite stability, which combined with the large Gemini-North mirror makes it ideal for studying tiny M dwarf planets. A recent laser frequency comb installation further improves the instrument’s radial velocity stability. In this talk, I provide an update on HUMDRUM (HUnting for M Dwarf Rocky planets Using MAROON-X), a volume-limited radial velocity survey of TESS planet candidates around nearby M dwarfs with MAROON-X. The data allow us to study planet compositions, probe the cause of the radius gap, and identify good targets for JWST follow-up. Our improved mass precisions (frequently on the order of 10%) show that most transiting M dwarf planets are Earth-like, with only a few planets consistent with volatile-rich compositions. These unusual planets could potentially be migratory water worlds. We also find a bimodal distribution of planet masses, with an underdensity of planets from 4-6 Earth masses. Finally, the mass function increases towards small planets, indicating that Earth-composition planets of 1-3 Earth masses are a common outcome of planet formation around M dwarfs.


Michael Line (Arizona State University) - Opportunity Hi-Res: Characterizing the Compositions and Climates of Transiting Exoplanets with IGRINS on Gemini South

Click here for the presentation slides (PDF)

Determining the nature of planetary atmospheres is a key objective of exoplanet science. A planet's atmosphere contains a wealth of diagnostic information on basic planetary conditions like climate and composition. Ground based high resolution time-series spectroscopy of transiting planets can reveal insights into planetary atmospheric composition, chemistry, and dynamics. Here we present results from nearly 200 hrs of ongoing programs with the Immersion GRating INfrared Spectrometer (IGRINS) on Gemini South aimed at measuring the compositions and thermal structures of over a dozen transiting exoplanets. We will present a summary of current results (published and unpublished) including the consistent detections of H2O, CO, and OH, metallicity and carbon-to-oxygen ratio constraints, and thermal structure information across a range of planetary temperatures (~1400-3000 K). We will also identify synergies and joint constraints with low-resolution JWST observations for overlapping targets. The overall goal of this effort is to demonstrate the reliability and the potential of ground based high-resolution spectroscopy to rigorously inform our understanding of the nature of exoplanet atmospheres, identify the role of ground based spectroscopic characterization in the era of JWST, and to create a pathway for atmospheric characterization with the next generation of giant ground based giant segmented mirror telescopes.


Laura Flagg (Cornell University) - Confirmation of a Metal Hydride in an Exoplanet with High-Resolution Transmission Spectroscopy

Click here for the presentation slides (PDF)

Transmission spectroscopy provides a unique way to study exoplanet atmospheres. High-resolution transmission spectroscopy in particular allows us to readily detect molecular species that have bands with thousands or even millions of lines. One class of molecule we are especially interested in detecting and characterizing in exoplanet atmospheres is metal hydrides, which are used to probe temperatures in brown dwarfs. In this talk, we discuss the ExoGemS survey, which acquired high-resolution transmission spectroscopy of dozens of exoplanets at a large range of temperatures and masses using GRACES on Gemini-N. We highlight one new, exciting result: the confirmation of CrH in WASP-31b. This is the first confirmed detection of a metal hydride in an exoplanet.


Emily Deibert (NSF's NOIRLab/Gemini Observatory) - Future Opportunities for Exoplanet Science at Gemini

Click here for the presentation slides (PDF)

The next generation of instrumentation will soon be available at the International Gemini Observatory, with the potential to push towards a new era of exoplanet detection and characterization. In this talk, I will introduce three of these new and upcoming instruments — the Gemini High-resolution Optical SpecTrograph (GHOST), the Immersion GRating INfrared Spectrograph 2 (IGRINS-2), and the Gemini Planet Imager 2.0 (GPI 2.0) — all of which have powerful capabilities for exoplanet science. I will summarize GHOST’s commissioning and system verification runs, and share early science results from an atmospheric characterization of the ultra-hot Jupiter WASP-189b. I will then talk about other exoplanet-related science cases we anticipate for this new instrument. Finally, I will discuss future work for IGRINS-2 and GPI 2.0, including plans for their system verification runs and expected timelines for offering these powerful new instruments to the Gemini community. I will finish by looking ahead to Gemini’s role in the field of exoplanets over the next decade.



Gemini Splinter Session: Introduction to Gemini Observatory in the 2020s: How to Propose for Time and Complete your Program

Click here for the presentation slides (PDF)

Wednesday, January 10, 2024, 10:00 - 11:30 am. New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 216 (AAS schedule).

SOC: David Jones (Chair, Gemini Observatory/NSF's NOIRLab), Zachary Hartman (Gemini Observatory/NSF's NOIRLab), Susan Ridgway (NSF's NOIRLab/CSDC), Siyi Xu (NSF's NOIRLab/Gemini), Emily Deibert (NSF's NOIRLab/Gemini), Vinicius Placco (NSF's NOIRLab/CSDC)

Gemini Observatory, in collaboration with the US National Gemini Office, presents an introduction to Gemini Observatory, intended for the whole community but particularly focused on providing resources for new Gemini users who are unfamiliar with Gemini's capabilities, proposal process, observing queue system, data reduction software, and/or user support system. The planned structure includes an overview of Gemini, both present and future capabilities, a discussion of different proposal types, advice from science staff on how to structure and write your proposal, how to prepare your observations and work with staff to get as much data as possible, and how to reduce Gemini data. We will end with a Q&A session for a panel of Gemini staff scientists to take questions and suggestions from the audience.

Jen Lotz (Gemini Director): Welcome and Gemini Strategic Vision

David Jones (Gemini Observatory/NSF's NOIRLab): Overview of Gemini Capabilities and User Support

Zach Hartman (Gemini Observatory/NSF's NOIRLab): Creating your First Gemini Proposal

Charlie Figura and Clara Martinez-Vazquez (Gemini Observatory/NSF's NOIRLab): An Overview of Gemini Queue Scheduling and Night-time Operations

Bill Vacca (Gemini Observatory/NSF's NOIRLab): Update on the status of DRAGONS

Siyi Xu and Aleksander Cikota: Future Capabilities: New Instrumentation and Gemini Program Platform

Gemini Science Staff Q&A



Updated on February 8, 2024, 7:21 am