[ASA] GMTO Newsletter - April 2018
s.brough at unsw.edu.au
Mon Apr 23 10:20:18 AEST 2018
Dear ASA Members,
Please find below the April 2018 Newsletter from the Giant Magellan
(AAL representative on GMT Science Advisory Committee)
-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: GMTO Newsletter - April 2018
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2018 17:26:42 -0400
From: Giant Magellan Telescope Organization <gmtadmin at gmto.org>
Reply-To: info at gmto.org
To: s.brough at unsw.edu.au
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GMTO Newsletter - April 2018
*Welcome to the April newsletter*
It has been a busy start to the year and in particular we were excited
to see the fifth primary mirror segment come out of the furnace at the
Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona. You can see
some great behind-the-scenes pictures of the progress of our fifth
mirror in this newsletter.
In other news, you will meet an important addition to the team building
the GMT - Ricardo Glade from WSP, GMTO's construction management
company. You can also find out how the University of Texas at Austin
will be helping GMT see into the dusty clouds where stars and planets
GMT has also been busy talking to, and listening to, the community -
both at January's American Astronomical Society meeting and in Chile.
Read about these events below.
Finally, registration has opened for GMTO's sixth annual Community
Science Meeting. This year's topic, the birth and death of stars,
promises to generate fascinating discussion. If this is your field of
astronomy we hope you can join us.
Remember you can always keep up to date with what's happening at GMTO
from our website, gmto.org
or from our presence on social media.
Read the whole newsletter here.
/-Dr. Patrick McCarthy/
WSP selected as GMTO's Construction Management company
Ricardo Glade, WSP
In January, GMTO announced the selection of WSP, a global engineering
and professional services consultancy, to manage the construction
activities on the GMT site in Chile. Construction work on the site
involves many interdependent activities that need to be coordinated so
that work is carried out efficiently and safely. WSP will draw upon its
global organization and capabilities which includes Poch, a 730-employee
engineering and environmental consulting company based in Chile that was
acquired by WSP in July 2017.
A key person in this activity is Ricardo Glade of WSP. Ricardo is a
project manager and engineer with many years of experience in the
region. For this newsletter, Ricardo answered a few questions about his
work on this project.
*Read Ricardo's profile here.
Lifting the veil on star formation: A University of Texas instrument for
The Milky Way galaxy contains roughly 100 billion stars and new stars
are being born at the rate of about one per year. Star formation is one
of the most common events in the universe - roughly 5000 stars are born
each second throughout the cosmos. Despite this being such a ubiquitous
phenomenon, star formation is not well understood. Building a complete
physical theory of star and planet formation is one of the major
outstanding challenges in astrophysics.
Part of the difficulty stems from the fact that the birth of stars
happens behind a curtain - the dense clouds of molecular gas and
interstellar dust grains that play a key role in star formation also
absorb light and obscure our view of the process. Infrared radiation -
light with wavelengths between roughly 1 and 100 microns - penetrates
the dust shrouding young stars and gives us a view of the star formation
process and newly formed stars within their dusty cocoons.
University of Texas at Austin (UT) professor of astronomy and Vice
President for Research Dan Jaffe is a world leading expert in both the
study of young stars and the infrared instrumentation needed to observe
them. Prof. Jaffe is engineering a state-of-the-art infrared
spectrograph - the GMT Near-IR Spectrograph (GMTNIRS) - that builds on
his deep experience with infrared instruments for ground- and
GMTNIRS will not only allow astronomers to peer into stellar nurseries,
it will also be used to probe the atmospheres of planets as they pass in
front of their parent stars. Atmospheric gases, such as water, carbon
monoxide, methane and oxygen each leave a distinct imprint on the
spectrum of the starlight that has passed through the atmosphere. Some
of these molecules, particularly oxygen and methane, can be indicators
of biochemical processes and hence can reveal the presence of life on
GMT's 5th Mirror revealed
The fifth primary mirror for the GMT was cast at the Richard F. Caris
Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona in November of last year. In
early February, after three months of careful cooling, the glass had
finished annealing and the furnace was opened. After cleaning and
inspection, the mirror was lifted off the furnace floor in early April.
Damien Jemison, GMTO's Creative Art Director, was there to capture
footage of these processes.
View the photos and video here...
Registration opens for 6th Annual GMT Community Science Meeting
The Sixth Annual GMT Community Science Meeting, sponsored by the Giant
Magellan Telescope Organization, will be held from September 13-15, 2018
in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Registration is now open: check gmtconference.org
While stars spend most of their lives as stable, fusion-powered objects,
stellar birth and death involve some of the most dramatic and diverse
physical processes known to astrophysicists. Stellar beginnings are
shrouded in dust and difficult to observe, and the next generation of
large telescopes will offer transformative opportunities to understand
this first chapter of the star formation story. Stellar death is often
explosive, and new data on transient objects offers great opportunities
for advancing our understanding of the last chapter of the stellar
story. This conference brings together experts in the fields of star
formation and stellar disruptions, eruptions and explosions.
The conference will focus on key open questions that can be solved in
the upcoming era of extremely large telescopes.
Astronomy with All Senses - Outreach in Chile
GMTO is engaged in an education program in Chile to inspire appreciation
and knowledge of astronomy through all the senses, with a particular
focus on accessibility to blind and visually impaired people. Astronomy
with All Senses is a project developed by Parque Explora and Planetario
Medellín (Colombia) and funded by the International Astronomical Union.
Fully contained in a traveler's backpack, the project materials consist
of carefully designed tactile materials which enable access to astronomy
for people of all ages, backgrounds and capabilities.
GMT at the 231st American Astronomical Society meeting
GMTO participated in the 231st American Astronomical Society meeting in
January, as a sponsor and as an exhibitor. GMTO also held an Open House
attended by over 100 people. At the Open House, GMTO Board members
Charles Alcock (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and Taft
Armandroff (The University of Texas at Austin) gave a brief update on
the status of the GMTO organization, Carnegie Institution for Science
astronomer Alycia Weinberger reviewed the progress towards the release
of the 2018 Science Book, and Patrick McCarthy briefed everyone on the
current project status.
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