credit: © 1999,
Neelon Crawford, from Polar Fine Arts, courtesy of Gemini Observatory
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U.S.A. and six other countries are participating in the Gemini Telescopes
project. NSF funds the U.S.A. part of the collaboration and administers
the project for the partnership's members.
For astronomers in the U.S.A. and the six participating countries, access
to these state-of-the-art telescopes represents the next greatest advance
in telescopes, helping answer questions about how stars and planets form,
the structure and evolution of the Milky Way and other galaxies and the
age and evolution of the universe.
Gemini consists of two 8-meter telescopes that together can explore the
entire northern and southern skiesin
optical and infrared light.Gemini
North was commissioned in June 1999 near the Mauna Kea summit on the big
island of Hawaii.
Gemini South is under construction on Cerro Pachon in northern Chile.
The first Gemini observations were made in 1999 with the Gemini North
telescope. These images are among the sharpest ever obtained by a ground-based
telescope, roughly the equivalent
of resolving the separation between a set of auto headlights from 2,000
The telescopes employ new
mirror technologies that allow large, thin, computer-adjusted mirrors
to collect and focus starlight with extraordinary precision. These
technologies make it possible at times to achieve more clarity than is
possible with the Hubble Space Telescope.