From their locations on mountains in Hawai’i and Chile, Gemini Observatory’s telescopes can collectively access the entire sky. Gemini’s suite of capabilities includes a wide-field laser adaptive optics system that complements current space-based telescopes and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which is being constructed on Cerro Pachón near Gemini South (LSST construction is managed by AURA). Gemini also hosts a robust visitor instrument program (unique among this telescope class). Gemini pioneers innovative approaches to proposing and observing, including: Fast Turnaround (monthly deadlines); Bring-One, Get-One (encourages visits by young career professionals in astronomy research); Large and Long programs (multi-year research); and Priority Visitor mode.
The Gemini international partnership includes the United States, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Korea. These Participants and the University of Hawaii, which has regular access to Gemini, each maintain a “National Gemini Office” to support their local users. Any astronomer in these countries can apply for Gemini time, which is allocated in proportion to each participant’s financial stake. AURA manages the United States’ stake, funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF), under a cooperative agreement.