Status and Availability
GRACES is offered in the 2018B call for proposals.
GRACES will be offered in blocks of ~10 nights. These blocks will be decided according to ESPaDOnS availability as well as on the R.A. demand. You can have a look at the current Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT)'s observing schedule here, but please note that the schedule for each semester is prepared at about the same time as for Gemini. It is therefore impossible to know at the time of a call for proposal when GRACES will be available during the corresponding semester. Please consider this when applying for time critical observations or observations requiring a certain cadence. Also, observations requiring very restrictive conditions such as IQ20 or WV50 may not be observable during the short GRACES blocks.
Note that ESPaDOnS is schedule for 2-3 runs of ~2 weeks each semester at CFHT. This leaves about 4 months when GRACES can be offered at Gemini each semester. However, only 1.5 of those 4 mothns are going to be in bright time, since most of the ESPaDOnS runs are scheduled during the brightest moon phases. Because the GRACES cassette containing the fiber injectors will be inserted in the same rack which supports the GMOS IFUs, it will not be possible to use both on the same night. Since IFU obsevations usually require lower backgroud, they will have priorities over GRACES during dark time. On the good side, swapping between the IFUs and the GRACES cassette can be done quickly and fairly easily during day time. All that considered, we can estimate that GRACES could be available at the telescope for up to a quarter of each semester.
April 2, 2019
As part of our post-repair checks of GRACES, we investigated the resolution attained in data reduced by Opera and by DRAGRACES. Overall the resolution was a slightly lower than originally determined for GRACES capability, but upon further investigation, we found that it was no different in previous semesters before the lightning damage. For 2-fiber mode, Opera reduced spectra have a resolution of 36-40k with the highest resolution between 6500-9000A. For 1-fiber mode, Opera reduced spectra have a resolution of 61-65k. It is highest in the range 6000-8500A, but never quite reaches 66k. With DRAGRACES, the resolution of the processed data is a bit lower, 37k for 2-f and 55K for 1-f mode. This is likely because OPERA interpolates the spectra to get a sub-pixel wavelength step that corresponds to 0.63 pix while DRAGRACES just does one step per pixel.
January 23, 2019
The repair of the GRACES encoders and replacement of the Galil in December went very well and was completed in time for the January GRACES run. Many thanks to the CFHT engineers who worked on this! The run went smoothly and everything worked as expected. There is one notable change in the data. The orders have shifted on the CCD about 15 pixels towards the blue side. draGRACES is being modified to deal with this shift (look out for a new version coming out very soon). It does not at this time look like there are any problems running Opera on these data.
August 31, 2018
With much help from CFHT, GRACES is working again - in a single fiber mode at a single focus. For what is left of the current GRACES run, we use GRACES in 2-fiber mode only.
August 21, 2018
GRACES suffered lightning damage past weekend. Post Hurricane Lane, CFHT will investigate the damage and attempt to get GRACES running. Update 8/28: After assessing GRACES, they found that there was damage to the GRACES Galil and to all GRACES encoders. A full repair will take awhile and new parts will be needed. At this time, we will attempt to get GRACES running in a single mode at a single focus for the remainder of this run.
December 11, 2017
This document from CFHT, OPERAperformance.pdf, describes the performance of Opera in comparison with Libre-Esprit on Espadons data, which is also relevant for GRACES data reduction.
June 7, 2017
GRACES data are now being taken in 2Amp mode (Espadons has been switched to taking data only in 2 Amp mode). The data reduction software DraGRACES will work with these datasets. .
Sept 21, 2016
GRACES data reduction options are now available. See Data Reduction.
Aug 12, 2016
GRACES data are now available on the Gemini Observatory Archive and can be accessed here. For more information, please see the Data Format and Reduction page.
Aug 3, 2016
Due to the shutdown to repair the dome shutter Aug 10-31, the GRACES run previously scheduled during this period will be pushed back. The new dates are Aug 31 - Sept 12.
Mar 31, 2016
GRACES is made available in the 2016B call for proposals.
Aug 31, 2015
GRACES is made available in the 2016A call for proposals.
Aug 6, 2015
GRACES is observing its first queue programs (from the 2015B semester).
Jul 21, 2015
First GRACES night: as a practice before 2015B semester, GRACES observed a series of science targets for a whole night. The data are available HERE.
Jun 4, 2015
GRACES is installed and ready for 2015B semester.
Mar 5, 2015
GRACES is now offered for the 2015B call for proposals.
Jan 12, 2015
A MoU for the use of ESPaDOnS by Gemini is signed between CFHT, Gemini and the CNRS.
Nov 14, 2014
GRACES phase II is approved. The instrument is planned to be offered as a visiting instrument in 2015B.
Jul 21, 2014
GRACES phase I results are presented at the SPIE meeting in Montréal.
May 16, 2014
GRACES phase I is completed! The fibers were installed on 24 Apr (see this Youtube video on the Gemini Observatory Channel). The first tests on-sky started on 30 Apr when light was successfully sent through the fibers from the Gemini mirror to a camera installed into the CFHT dome. GRACES fiber was connected to the ESPaDOnS spectrograph on 5 May, and the first light was achived on 6 May!
Mar 3, 2014
Acceptance tests of all the optical and mechanical parts are currently running (Mar 2014). If GRACES performances in the lab are satisfactory, its commissioning will be performed during (Hawaiian) spring. GRACES availability will be decided once the commissioning is completed.
Feb 10, 2014
FiberTech Optica achieved to make two 270m fibers that meet the requirement of an average 20% focal ration degradation.
Jan 18, 2014
The two 270m science fiber are made, and are in specs with a 20% focal ratio degradation (with the bare fiber polished ends)!
Oct 30, 2013
First major milestone is reached! FiberTech Optica achieved to make a 200m test fiber which has a focal ratio degradation of 15%! We have demonstrated that very long fibers for astronomical use are possible to make.