Gemini Telescopes, Science and Technologies

The Gemini Observatory consists of twin 8.1-meter diameter optical/infrared telescopes located on two of the best observing sites on the planet. From their locations on mountains in Hawai‘i and Chile, Gemini Observatory’s telescopes can collectively access the entire sky.

The Gemini South telescope is located at about 2,750 meters (8,900 feet) elevation on a mountain in the Chilean Andes called Cerro Pachón. Cerro Pachón shares resources with the adjacent SOAR telescope and the nearby telescopes of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. The Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North telescope is located on Hawaii's Mauna Kea as part of the international community of observatories that have been built to take advantage of the superb atmospheric conditions on this long dormant volcano that rises about 4,200 meters (13,800 feet) into the dry, stable air of the Pacific. The Gemini Observatory's international headquarters is located in Hilo, Hawai`i at the University of Hawaii Hilo's University Park.

Both of the Gemini telescopes have been designed to take advantage of the latest technology and thermal controls to excel in a wide variety of optical and infrared capabilities. One example of this is the unique Gemini coating chamber that uses "sputtering" technology to apply protected silver coatings on the Gemini mirrors to provide unprecedented infrared performance.

Gemini's instrument program keeps the observatory at the cutting edge of astronomical research. By incorporating technologies such as laser guide stars, Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics and multi-object spectroscopy, astronomers in the Gemini partnership have access to the latest tools for exploring the universe.

Gemini was built and is operated by a partnership of 6 countries including the United States, Canada, Chile, Australia, Brazil and Argentina. Any astronomer in each partner country can apply for time on Gemini with is allocated in accordance with the amount of financial support provided by each country.

The Gemini telescopes have been integrated with modern networking technologies to allow remote operations from control rooms at the base facilities in Hilo and La Serena Chile. With the flexibility of "Queue Scheduling" and remote participation, researchers anywhere in the Gemini partnership will be assured the best possible match between observation, instrument and observing conditions.

(Left) Gemini North with open wind vents and observing slit at sunset. (Right) Gemini South with star-trails of the South Celestial Pole overhead.