CIRPASS is currently being tested in the lab at the IoA. On July 9th we officially passed the Gemini acceptance test when we showed that the total measured noise in the system (sky, dark current, flat-field noise, thermal background and read-noise) and the measured throughput would give a signal-to-noise ratio of 5 or more for a flux of 2e-18 ergs/sec/cm/cm in a two pixel (4.4Angstrom) spectral resolution element in a 3 hour exposure on Gemini. The first commissioning run on Gemini-N will be in late Jan 2001.
CIRPASS will be made available as a visitor instrument on the Gemini telescopes. We (i.e. the IoA's Instrumentation Group) will operate the instrument for the benefit of observers throughout the Gemini community who will obtain telescope time in the same way as they would for a Gemini Facility Instrument.
We strongly encourage users of CIRPASS to collaborate fully with us on their observing programmes to get the most out of their Gemini time. Specifically, we are seeking collaborations where our team members are included as authors on papers resulting from CIRPASS observations. Our contribution to such collaborations will be assistance with writing proposals, planning the observations and post-run data reduction, analysis and interpretation. Our expertise in handling the complex 3-D nature of the data obtained with the IFU will be particularly valuable.
An opportunity to participate in a demo science run (probably in March/April 2002) was announced by Gemini. The closing date for applications was July 15th. A further announcement inviting observers to apply for time on CIRPASS in semester 2002A is expected in late August.