Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia Society
Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia

Calibration of Photometry from the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph on Gemini North

Inger Jørgensen

Gemini Observatory, 670 N. A‘ohoku Pl., Hilo, HI 96720, USA. Email:

Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia 26(1) 17-30
Submitted: 2 May 2008  Accepted: 5 November 2008   Published: 2 April 2009


All available observations of photometric standard stars obtained with the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph at Gemini North in the period from August 2001 to December 2003 have been used to establish the calibrations for photometry obtained with the instrument. The calibrations presented in this paper are based on significantly more photometric standard star observations than usually used by the individual users. Nightly photometric zero points as well as color terms are determined. The color terms are expected to be valid for all observations taken prior to UT 2004 November 21 at which time the Gemini North primary mirror was coated with silver instead of aluminium. While the nightly zero points are accurate to 0.02 mag or better (random errors), the accuracy of the calibrations is limited by systematic errors from so-called ‘sky concentration’, an effect seen in all focal reducer instruments. We conclude that an accuracy of 0.035 to 0.05 mag can be achieved by using calibrations derived in this paper. The color terms are strongest for very red objects, e.g. for objects with (r′ – z′) = 3.0 the resulting z′ magnitudes will be ≈0.35 mag too bright if the color term is ignored. The calibrations are of importance to the large Gemini user community with data obtained prior to UT 2004 November 21, as well as future users of achive data from this period in time.

Keywords: techniques: photometric — methods: data analysis


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