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Design Studies for the Gemini High-resolution Optical Spectrograph

Gemini is pleased to announce the start of the Conceptual Design process for the Gemini High-resolution Optical Spectrograph (GHOS) - a proposed next-generation instrument for Gemini.  Three very strong teams are performing the Conceptual Design Studies, which are led by:


  • Australian Astronomical Observatory in Epping, NSW, Australia;
  • University of Colorado at Boulder, USA; and
  • Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Being 6-months in duration, the competitive design studies have, as a key deliverable, an exhaustive plan for continuing the design and build of the instrument. The plan must address and resolve all of the key technical risks and meet our desired cost and schedule constraints. Although we hope GHOS is delivered in 2015, the final schedule remains to be determined through these studies.

If built, we expect the spectrograph, with a resolution of R ~ 40,000, will nominally provide simultaneous coverage over wavelengths from 370 to 1000nm - with a goal of reaching 300 to 1100nm.  It would provide image stability to 1/3 pixel/hour, with a goal of 1/10 pixel/hour.  The Gemini community would use GHOS to pursue a range of scientific areas, which are likely to include: determination of the chemical abundance of stars, which shows their past conditions and may be tied to planet formation; study of the structure and history our own Milky Way galaxy; and observation of globular clusters to reveal the formation and evolution of other galaxies.