Home > Astronomy, General Astronomy > Revolutionary Instrument Delivers A Sharper Universe To Astronomers

Revolutionary Instrument Delivers A Sharper Universe To Astronomers


Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA

Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA

Astronomers recently got their hands on Gemini Observatory’s revolutionary new adaptive optics system, called GeMS, “and the data are truly spectacular!” says Robert Blum, Deputy Director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory with funding by the U.S. National Science Foundation. “What we have seen so far signals an incredible capability that leaps ahead of anything in space or on the ground – and it will for some time.” Blum is currently using GeMS to study the environments in and around star clusters, and his preliminary data, targeting the spectacular cluster identified as RMC 136, are among a set of seven images released today. The remaining six images –– spanning views of violent star-forming regions, to the graceful interaction of distant colliding galaxies –– only hint at the diversity of cutting-edge research that GeMS enables.

After more than a decade in development, the system, now in regular use at the Gemini South telescope in Chile, is streaming ultrasharp data to scientists around the world – providing a new level of detail in their studies of the universe. The images made public today show the scientific discovery power of GeMS (derived from the Gemini Multi-conjugate adaptive optics System), which uses a potent combination of multiple lasers and deformable mirrors to remove atmospheric distortions (blurriness) from ground-based images.

Full Story and Image Downloads: http://www.gemini.edu/node/12028

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