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Gemini Observatory Archive


The Gemini Observatory Archive (GOA) located at is now the primary conduit to obtain data from Gemini Observatory. The Help and About pages also linked at the top of the archive page give more information.

The GOA provides a simple yet powerful interface to search for and download science data, calibrations and observation logs both for Gemini program PIs and Co-Is, and also for people searching for Gemini data by observation details such as instrument configuration, sky coordinates, observing date etc. Paul Hirst is the GOA project lead.

Data Flow and Distribution

All Gemini data distribution to users is via the archive web interface. Data are transferred to the archive automatically during observing, and each file is typically available for download from the archive within a minute or two of the observation completing. Data Quality Assessment proceeds over the following days and the archive is updated if QA states or other metadata are updated.

The archive will automatically find all the calibration data associated with search results, and presents this in the associated calibrations tab in the search form. Additionally, it's possible to search for calibration data directly in the search form simply by setting the search fields appropriately.

The archive contains mostly raw data. Some data is processed by the observatory and this processed data is uploaded to the archive. Notably, this includes GMOS bias frames and imaging twilight flat fields, along with MOS preimaging data. Other processed data is produced and archived on a somewhat ad-hoc basis.

Gemini metadata, including sky coordinates, target name and instrument configuration are in general immediately world public, and the full FITS headers of proprietary data files can be viewed by any archive user. This is a deliberate policy and allows people to avoid writing proposals that would duplicate observations whose data are still proprietary. The actual pixel values are proprietary and only made available to the project they were observed for, typically for 12 months (18 prior to semester 2016A). A few projects (for example some of the exoplanet campaign projects with NICI and GPI) have been granted a proprietary metadata status where certain items of metadata (sky coordinates and target name), and the full FITS header text, assume the same proprietary privacy restrictions as the pixel values.

Downloading proprietary data

The archive is open to the public to search for data, and download any data which is no longer proprietary. If you are a gemini PI or Co-I and would like to access proprietary data for your program you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Create an account on the archive
  • Register your Gemini program with your archive account. To do this you need the program ID and the ODB key you were given in your time award notification email.

More details on how do to this are provided in the User Accounts section of the archive help page

Transition from the Gemini Science Archive

Gemini science data were initially stored in the Gemini Science Archive (GSA), operated by the Canadian Astronomy Data Center (CADC). From November 2015, all data are instead stored in, and accessed via, the Gemini Observatory Archive, which is operated by the Observatory.

All Gemini data has been transferred into the new archive. However, user accounts and program registrations are not transferable - you will need to create an account on the new archive and register any programs from which you would like to download proprietary data with that new account.

Unlike the GSA, the GOA does not have the concept of "PI packages". PIs simply search for and download their data (and optionally the associated calibrations) by project ID using the main search form.