GIRMOS – Gemini Infrared Multi-Object Spectrograph

The Dunlap Institute is leading the development of an infrared spectrograph for the Gemini Observatory called the Gemini Infrared Multi-Object Spectrograph, or GIRMOS.

GIRMOS is designed to produce high angular-resolution and highly sensitive infrared images of the sky. It will image four objects simultaneously within a two arc-minute field of view—a capability known as multiplexing.

The spectrograph will target high-redshift (1 < z < 10) galaxies to help in the study of their formation and evolution, back to a time in the early universe when galaxies were first forming. It will also help in the investigation of galaxy mergers in dense environments.

It will enable near-field cosmology through the study of metal-poor stars in the Milky Way Galaxy’s central bulge. It will also help astronomers study star formation physics in the Milky Way.

GIRMOS will serve as a precursor to the IRMOS spectrograph, a high-priority instrument for the Thirty-Meter Telescope now under construction in Hawai’i. It will serve as an important follow-up instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) when it is launched in 2018.

GIRMOS is designed for use on the 8-metre telescopes of the Gemini Observatory, the largest telescopes available to Canadian astronomers.

Major partners include:

  • Adaptive optics: Dalhousie University, University of Victoria,
  • Calibration: UBC
  • Spectrographs: U of T; Université Laval
  • Software: Saint Mary’s University; NRC

Additional partners include York University and University of Manitoba

The project is being led by the Dunlap’s Prof. Suresh Sivanandam, and is being funded through a Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) award of $5 million, with $7.8 million from provincial and other partners. The funding was announced in October 2017.

For details, visit Prof. Sivanandam’s personal research page.


Gemini South Observatory on Cerro Pachón in northern Chile. Image: Gemini Observatory; AURA