[ASA] GMTO Newsletter - April 2018

Sarah Brough 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 
Telescope Organization,

Cheers, Sarah

(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 
are born.
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 GMT

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 
space-based telescopes.
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 
other planets.

*Continue reading... 


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 
<https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/945UC1WZXri8MGMqiknk4j?domain=r20.rs6.net> for 
more details.
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.

Read more... 


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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