Entering into the Wide Field Adaptive Optics Era in the Northern Hemisphere
Gaetano Sivo, John Blakeslee, Jennifer Lotz, Henry Roe, Morten Andersen, Julia Scharwachter, David Palmer, Scot Kleinman, Andy Adamson, Paul Hirst, Eduardo Marin, Laure Catala, Marcos van Dam, Stephen Goodsell, Natalie Provost, Ruben Diaz, Inger Jorgensen, Hwihyun Kim, Marie Lemoine-Busserole, Celia Blain, Mark Chun, Mark Ammons, Julian Christou, Charlotte Bond, Suresh Sivanandam, Paolo Turri, Peter Wizinowich, Carlos Correia, Benoit Neichel, Jean-Pierre Veran, Simone Esposito, Masen Lamb, Thierry Fusco, Francois Rigaut, Eric Steinbring
Published 2019-07-18Version 1
As part of the National Science Foundation funded "Gemini in the Era of MultiMessenger Astronomy" (GEMMA) program, Gemini Observatory is developing GNAO, a widefield adaptive optics (AO) facility for Gemini-North on Maunakea, the only 8m-class open-access telescope available to the US astronomers in the northern hemisphere. GNAO will provide the user community with a queue-operated Multi-Conjugate AO (MCAO) system, enabling a wide range of innovative solar system, Galactic, and extragalactic science with a particular focus on synergies with JWST in the area of time-domain astronomy. The GNAO effort builds on institutional investment and experience with the more limited block-scheduled Gemini Multi-Conjugate System (GeMS), commissioned at Gemini South in 2013. The project involves close partnerships with the community through the recently established Gemini AO Working Group and the GNAO Science Team, as well as external instrument teams. The modular design of GNAO will enable a planned upgrade to a Ground Layer AO (GLAO) mode when combined with an Adaptive Secondary Mirror (ASM). By enhancing the natural seeing by an expected factor of two, GLAO will vastly improve Gemini North's observing efficiency for seeing-limited instruments and strengthen its survey capabilities for multi-messenger astronomy.