- O/IR System
This document covers the observing time period from 1 February – 31 July 2018. Proposal Deadline: 2 October 2017 at 11:59 pm Mountain Standard Time. This document is also available as a downloadable PDF file.
Proposals for standard observing programs at all ground-based facilities coordinated by NOAO, which include US time on the telescopes of Gemini, CTIO, and KPNO, as well as community-access time with private observatories, can be submitted twice per year. For the 2018A semester, the deadline is:
Standard Programs: 2 October 2017 deadline for the 1 February – 31 July 2018 observing period (2018A)
Below we give a short description of the different NOAO proposal types.
Standard Programs are traditional proposals for observing time allocated on a semester basis. Standard proposals generally request modest amounts of time, although requests for long runs are also considered. Standard programs are judged by one of seven TAC panels, each with five members plus a non-voting Chair. The Chairs present the proposal rankings made by the panel members at the meeting where the proposals are merged into a single ranked list.
Long Term Status for Standard Proposals are for scientific programs that, by their design, need to extend beyond a single semester. Long-term status may be granted to a proposal for which the principal science goal of the proposal cannot be achieved without the full allocation of time. An investigator who wishes to request long-term status should include a summary of the request (e.g., "six nights per semester for four semesters") in the appropriate section of the proposal form.
If long-term status is granted, a progress report must be submitted each subsequent semester to inform the TAC that appropriate progress is being made. Progress reports should briefly summarize the scientific justification, provide a detailed discussion of progress to date, restate the number of observing runs still needed to complete the project, and give details needed for scheduling the proposal in the next semester.
Although the granting of long-term status by the TAC does carry with it a commitment for observing time in future semesters, NOAO reserves the right to terminate long-term status on the advice of the TAC if insufficient information concerning the progress of the project has been supplied by the Principal Investigator or in the event of telescope closures.
NOAO Survey programs can be carried out using the telescopes at KPNO and CTIO, although for the last Survey call, only CTIO-4m/DECam proposals were accepted. Up to 20% of the observing time available through NOAO on these telescopes may be allocated to Survey Programs. In some cases, not all instruments currently used or planned for installation on these telescopes will be available for Surveys in any Call. The 20% observing time may be unequally distributed among the telescopes.
Survey programs represent significant observational efforts which:
Survey programs are judged by a dedicated Survey TAC panel, which uses a wider range of criteria than does the regular TAC. The scientific bar for acceptance of Survey programs is thus considerably higher than for Standard proposals. No new Survey time is offered in 2018A; the most recent Survey call was in 2014B. More information on the NOAO Survey Program can be found at http://ast.noao.edu/observing/surveys
Gemini Large or Long Programs (LP) are those that require either significantly more time than a partner typically approves for a single program, or extend over 2 to 6 semesters, or both. The participating partners (US, Canada, and Argentina) will make up to 20% of their time at each telescope available for LPs. Gemini LPs are judged by a dedicated LP TAC, with representatives from the participating partners. Further information on LPs and the LP proposal process can be found at Large and Long Programs at Gemini Observatory
Who can apply? Applications for telescope time at NOAO facilities are welcome from all astronomers and students. Applications from astronomers and students who work at non-US institutions must indicate why the project cannot be done using other facilities that might be available to the investigators and why US national facilities are needed. Proposals from graduate students who are conducting observations as part of their Ph.D. thesis work will have their travel and on-site expenses paid for by NOAO. Please select "Graduate student, and THIS proposal is part of thesis" ONLY if the requested observations are essential for the Graduate Thesis. For all other cases, please simply select "Graduate Student" (e.g. if the student is in fact working toward a thesis, but this proposal is not essential to that effort). Thesis Advisors should be aware that a Thesis Student Information Form should be completed and submitted within two business days after the proposal deadline. This form is required for the student to be considered for NOAO travel support. Lacking the Advisor's submission by the deadline, the proposal will be considered as any other non-thesis proposal, and travel support will not be granted.
Criteria for the evaluation of telescope proposals to NOAO facilities will be based on scientific merit. The criteria for evaluating scientific merit of proposals for time on NOAO facilities are:
In addition, the value of the proposed research to the educational and career development of the investigators may be considered in exceptional circumstances.
For Survey Proposals, additional criteria related to the broader goals of survey programs are applied, including how the data could be used after the survey is complete and how much of an educational component may be involved.
For CTIO proposals, preference may be given to proposals which can only be carried out in the southern hemisphere.
NOAO is committed to maximizing the accessibility of astronomy to all qualified proposers. Many of the telescopes available through NOAO support remote observing, and we are happy to discuss ways in which this mode can be employed to address specific issues of accessibility. To enquire about remote observing and other forms of access, and to request specific accommodation, please contact any of the following individuals:
The 2018A Call for Proposals covers proposals for observing programs at all ground-based facilities on which NOAO manages open-access observing time. Observing proposals for all telescopes, other than Gemini, must be submitted using the NOAO Proposal Form, which is found at
The NOAO proposal can either be prepared and submitted completely online or a LaTeX template can be completed locally and submitted via a web upload.
Gemini Proposals Investigators who are applying for time on the Gemini telescopes must use Gemini Observatory's Phase I Tool (PIT) to prepare their observing proposals. The PIT is available from the Gemini Observatory at
The text sections of PIT proposals will need to be attached as a PDF document. Please use the US Latex or Word template provided at the PIT website to write your NOAO Gemini PIT proposal.
Classical observers using US time on the Gemini telescopes should be prepared to fund their own travel for their observing trips. NOAO encourages classical observing for the benefits that the on-site experience provides, and will attempt to fund, at least in part, the cost of travel for one Gemini classical observer per run. However, because of tight funding constraints, NOAO cannot guarantee such support. NOAO will continue to support graduate students traveling to Gemini for observations that are part of their PhD thesis work.
LBT Proposals Investigators who are applying for community time with the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory must use their version of the Phase I Tool (PIT) to prepare their observing proposals. The LBTO PIT is available from the LBT Observatory at
The text sections of LBTO PIT proposals will need to be attached as a PDF document. Please use the NOAO LBT Latex or Word template provided at our website to write your NOAO LBTO PIT proposal.
AAT Proposals The Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and NOAO/CTIO are pleased to announce a time exchange arrangement, to allow our respective communities to maximize the scientific facilities and opportunities to which we have access. In 2018A, five classically-scheduled nights on the Anglo-Australian Telescope will be available to the NOAO community. All AAT facility instruments are available.
Proposals for this time should be submitted through the NOAO proposal form. The proposals will be reviewed by the NOAO TAC, and the successful proposals submitted to the AAO for scheduling. Note also that proposals for AAT time through the regular AAT open call, submitted by the AAO deadline of 15 September 2017 at 17:00 (AEDT) using the AAO form, are also encouraged by the AAO. These will be assessed only by the Australian Time Assignment Committee.
|Facility||Telescope||Approximate nights available for new 2018A programs||Additional Info|
|Gemini||8m Gemini North Telescope||65|
|8m Gemini South Telescope||58|
|8m Subaru Telescope (available through exchange)||3||
|CTIO||4m Blanco Telescope||56|
|SOAR||4.2m SOAR Telescope||40|
|SMARTS||1.5m, 1.3m, 0.9m||120hrs, 140hrs, 21N|
|WIYN||3.5m WIYN Telescope||57||NASA Exoplanet GO Proposals for the WIYN 3.5-m Telescope|
|LBT||Large Binocular Telescope, two 8.4m mirrors||8||Community Access to LBT|
|AAO||3.9m AAT at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (available through exchange)||5||Community Access to AAT|
|CHARA||6 X 1m Interferometer||25||Community Access to CHARA|
|LCO||Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, 1m and 2m||1200hrs, 220hrs||The LCO 2018A observing period will run from 1 December 2017 - 31 May 2018, with proposals due 2 October 2017 as part of the regular NOAO Call|
NIFS: Near-IR IFU spectrograph
NIRI: Near-Infrared Imager
ALOPEKE: Speckle Camera (visiting instrument)
GRACES: Gemini Remote Acceess to CFHT ESPaDOnS Spectrograph (visiting instrument)
POLISH-2: high-precision optical polarimeter (visiting instrument)
TEXES: Texas Echelon Cross Echelle Spectrograph (visiting instrument)
Flamingos-2 (imaging and longslit modes only): Near-infrared Wide Field Imager and Multi-Object Spectrometer
GPI: Gemini Planet Imager
DSSI: Speckle Camera (visiting instrument)
IGRINS: Immersion GRating INfrared Spectrograph (visiting instrument)
IRCS+AO188: IRCS + Natural and Laser Guide Star AO
Classic: IR Imaging
Climb: IR Imaging
JouFLU: IR Imaging
MIRC: low-res IR Spectroscopy
PAVO: low-res Spectroscopy
VEGA: Optical Spectroscopy
Spectral: optical imager
Sinistro: optical imager
DECam: Wide Field Optical Imager
TS4 ARCoIRIS: TripleSpec4 near-IR spectrograph
Goodman: Goodman Spectrograph
SOI: SOAR Opitical Imager
Spartan: Spartan IR Imager
SAM: SOAR Adaptive Module
HRCAM: High-Resolution Camera
SAMHR: SAM + HRCAM
AAOmega+2DF: Fiber-fed Optical Spectrograph
AAOmega+KOALA: 1000-element Optical IFU
AAOmega+SAMI: 13 IFU fiber bundles over a 1-degree field
HERMES + 2dF: High Efficiency and Resolution MultiElement Spectrograph
ANDI+CCDIR: Cass Direct + CCD/IR Queue-Service
CFIM+T2K: Cass Direct + SITe 2K CCD
HYDRB: Hydra + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Blue camera
HYDRR: Hydra + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Red camera
GRDPK: GradPak IFU
HEXPK: HexPak IFU
HDI: Half-Degree Imager
The following changes to instrumentation at all facilities available through NOAO are noted here to alert investigators preparing proposals.
The Gemini Phase I Tool (PIT) will automatically add the time for the baseline partner calibrations to the total time requested for each target in the proposal.
The Gemini community is eligible to propose Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) "filler" programs on Subaru in 2018A.
Opportunity Extended: Bring one, get one! In 2018A, Gemini Observatory will continue to subsidize, with up to US$2000, the travel expenses of individual underand graduate students visiting Gemini North or South, when accompanying a senior observer
We point out that in addition to the regular Gemini queue, the Gemini Observatory supports a monthly Fast Turnaround (FT) program that is managed by Gemini and offers up to 10% of the Gemini time. The FT program is especially suitable for small programs (time less than about 6-8 hours) that can be executed relatively quickly in the dedicated FT queue. These proposals are peer-reviewed by other proposers in the same month.
The Gemini North Laser Guide Star (Altair with LGS) system will not be available for regular programs in 2018A.
GMOS South will be unavailable for about six weeks during the second half of the 2018A semester for planned instrument maintenance.
The GPI nonredundant mask (NRM) is available for science in 2018A.
For FLAMINGOS2, two new medium K-band filters are available for science in 2018A, Filters Y and J-lo are not available in 2018A.
The TEXES visitor instrument will be available (subject to demand) during late-June or July in 2018A at Gemini North.
ALOPEKE, a new Speckle camera visitor instrument, will be available for science (subject to demand) during 2018A at Gemini North.
POLISH2, a high-precision polarimeter, will be available (subject to demand) as a visitor instrument at Gemini North in 2018A.
The DSSI Speckle camera visitor instrument will be available (subject to demand) during the first half of 2018A at Gemini South.
IGRINS, a high-resolution near-IR echelle spectrometer visitor instrument, will be available (subject to demand) during the second half of 2018A at Gemini South.
Gemini and Subaru are continuing their time-exchange program. A desired minimum of five classically-scheduled nights will be available to the Gemini community, providing there is sufficient demand from both sides of the exchange. Please see the Gemini call for proposals for more information. Proposers requesting Subaru time must use the Gemini Phase-I Tool (PIT).
AAT: Due to a time-exchange program between CTIO and the Australian Astronomical Observatory, five nights of classical observing time at the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope will be available to the community during 2018A.
LCO: Approximately 1220 hrs of 1-meter time and 220 hrs of 2-meter time with the global telescope network of Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) will be available to the community in 2018A. The Las Cumbres 2018A semester will begin and end two months earlier than NOAO's standard 2018A semester and run from 1 December 2017 - 31 May 2018.
CHARA: Up to 25 nights of service observations with the CHARA Interferometer Array at Mt. Wilson will be available to the community during 2018A. Note that this call covers a six-month period, not a full year as in the past, so the time available is ten times what it has been in the past.
Instruments available: In 2018A, CTIO will be offering the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) and the Cerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (COSMOS). The Astronomy Research with the Cornell InfraRed Imaging Spectrograph (ARCoIRIS), will be relocated to SOAR during the 2018 calendar year. Depending on demand, ARCoIRIS may be scheduled on Blanco early in 2018A before being taken out of service to carry opto-mechanical modifications inside the Dewar. It is expected to become available again on SOAR for Science Verification and possibly in campaign mode during the 2018B semester.
Nights Available in 2018A: A three week shutdown for recoating of the Blanco primary mirror has been tentatively scheduled for April 2018. The Dark Energy Survey (DES) has been granted the first halves of Feb 2-11 inclusive, and the DECals survey has been granted 22 dark/grey nights distributed throughout the semester. The rest of the semester should be normal with approximately 60 nights available for allocation by the NOAO TAC.
The SOAR web site is located at:
A second camera for the Goodman spectrograph is now available, which incorporates a deep-depletion e2v CCD with better red performance (but somewhat inferior UV performance). Please see the Goodman page at SOAR, or the SOAR home page, for further details. It is now considered the preferred configuration for anyone who does not worry about UV response. Users are restricted to one camera on a given night, but do not need to commit to a specific camera when writing the proposal. Observers should note that the Goodman red camera may be preferred to SOI for many imaging programs, especially those that rely on observations in the red/near-infrared, where the Goodman detector has much better fringing properties than SOI (or Goodman blue).
The restricted use speckle camera, HRCam, can be proposed for. If the AO-assisted mode is desired, please request SAMHR on the proposal form.
SOAR will also be offering limited access to two instruments:
Prospective users are reminded that
Time on the small telescopes at CTIO will be available to NOAO users in 2018A via the usual proposal process. The telescopes are operated by the SMARTS consortium with up to 15% of time available to the NOAO community.
The SMARTS web site is http://www.astro.yale.edu/smarts/
The 0.9m + CFCCD is available in user mode only. For more information on the 0.9m, please contact Dr. Todd Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 1.3m + ANDICAM (dual channel optical / IR imager) is available in queue / service mode only. The 1.3-m telescope is primarily used for monitoring projects, thus programs are scheduled in non-contiguous segments of an hour or less with a limit of three hours total within any given night. For inquiries about scheduling or 1.3m + ANDICAM observing capabilities, please contact the SMARTS 1.3m queue manager Bryndis Cruz at email@example.com. For any other inquiries about the 1.3m, please contact Victoria Misenti at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non-sidereal tracking is no longer supported as service or queue observing. The only option for non-sidereal is user time on the 0.9m.
The 1.5m + CHIRON (fiber-fed cross-dispersed echelle) is scheduled to reopen for regular use starting October 1, 2017. The current operation plan is for one year only, i.e., through September 30, 2018, but should sufficient funding be found, the telescope may remain open. Queue programs can be accommodated for up to 15% of observing time through NOAO. Since it was not known that the 1.5m would be available at the time of the 2017B CfP, requests for time can be submitted in response to the present CfP for observing time during the entire period November 2017 to July 2018. We anticipate that between 100-150 hrs will be available; starting as early as mid-November. For more information on the 1.5m, please contact Dr. Todd Henry at email@example.com.
Mayall: The Mayall 4-m telescope will be taken out of service for installation of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). No time will be available through the NOAO TAC in 2018A.
WIYN: As was the case in the 2017B, priority at the WIYN-3.5m will be given to qualifying proposals under the NN-EXPLORE program. More information on the NASA Guest Observer program can be found at http://ast.noao.edu/observing/wiyn-exoplanets-2018a.
Instruments offered at WIYN include the upgraded ODI, now with a 48'x40' focal plane. Other facility instruments on offer are HYDRA, the IFUs (SparsePak, HexPak, and GradPak), WHIRC (with or without WTTM), and the queue-operated speckle imager NESSI. Observers wishing to use Hexpak or Gradpak in 2018A should contact the PI (Matthew Bershady) at firstname.lastname@example.org before submitting a proposal to use these IFUs.
All WIYN proposers, please review the Proposal Information page (http://www.wiyn.org/Observe/wiynproposalinfo.html) to ensure all the required information is submitted on your proposal.
Remote Observing: KPNO offers remote observing for selected programs in 2018A. If you are interested in this opportunity, please see the requirements for observing remotely at . If you are requesting remote observing, please make a note of this in the "Scheduling constraints and non-usable dates" section that appears at the bottom of the first page of the NOAO proposal form and include any additional details in the "Technical Description" text of your observing run.
There are a variety of credit lines which are appropriate for citing the use of data from one or more of the NOAO facilities. Please acknowledge the proper observatories by using the appropriate credit line as discussed below.
NOAO generic press release
The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) consists of Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory near La Serena, Chile, and the NOAO System Science Center. NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Observers should also note their NOAO proposal ID and observing dates in their publications either in a footnote, or in the observations section or acknowledgments sections of their papers.
Visitors are asked to add a Kitt Peak byline on the title page, as a footnote to the author, that reads:
Visiting Astronomer, Kitt Peak National Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
NOAO staff members are asked to add a footnote after their names on the title page that reads: Kitt Peak National Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
In addition to the Kitt Peak credit line, Case Western Reserve University has requested that a special acknowledgement be included on papers resulting from observations obtained with the Burrell Schmidt telescope:
Observations made with the Burrell Schmidt of the Warner and Swasey Observatory, Case Western Reserve University.
In addition to the Kitt Peak Credit line, the WIYN Observatory Corporation has requested that the following acknowledgement be included in any paper using WIYN data. The acknowledgement should be included as a footnote on the title page. The WIYN Board also encourages the mention of WIYN in the title or abstract of the paper:
The WIYN Observatory is a joint facility of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Indiana University, Yale University, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
For publications resulting from NN-EXPLORE telescope time, please include this text: "Data presented herein were obtained at the WIYN Observatory from telescope time allocated to NN-EXPLORE through the scientific partnership of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory."
It is expected that visiting observers making use of CTIO facilities will utilize the observations they obtain for the preparation of a publication describing their research activity. Publications by visiting observers should carry the following credit lines:
Visiting astronomer, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which are operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, under contract with the National Science Foundation.
Visiting observers who use CTIO facilities for only a small part of a larger program should include suitable acknowledgement to the Observatory in their publication or dissertation.
To properly acknowledge the use of data obtained with the SOAR telescope in publications, whether partially or entirely based on SOAR data, please include an asterisk by the paper title referring to a footnote stating:
"Based on observations obtained at the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope, which is a joint project of the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, e Inovação (MCTI) da República Federativa do Brasil, the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and Michigan State University (MSU)."
Papers containing data from the Gemini telescopes (e.g., an ApJ paper) should include the following general acknowledgment as a footnote on the first page or in the last section before the references:
Based on observations obtained at the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the NSF on behalf of the Gemini partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), the National Research Council (Canada), CONICYT (Chile), the Australian Research Council (Australia), Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia (Brazil) and Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva (Argentina).
If appropriate, please also acknowledge the provision of visiting instrument(s) as described in the relevant "documents" web pages for that instrument.
Authors are also asked to give the identification number ("Program ID") of the program(s) under which their data were obtained, e.g. GN-2004A-Q-10, or GS-2003B-C- 1, or GN-2002B-SV-78 or GS-2005A-DD-96. We recommend that this reference to the Program ID be made in the acknowledgement section at the end of the paper or in the Observations section of the paper.
Please acknowledge NSF-TSIP support by including the following in all publications relating to TSIP observing time (preferably as a footnote on the title page): “[Keck, MMT, or Magellan] telescope time was granted by NOAO, through the Telescope System Instrumentation Program (TSIP). TSIP is funded by NSF.” Observers should also note their NOAO proposal ID and observing dates in their publications either in the same footnote, or in the observations section or acknowledgments sections of their papers.
In addition for Keck time, please include the standard Keck acknowledgements at http://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/observing/keck_authors.html
Any publication that results from NOAO-allocated time on the 200-inch Hale telescope should acknowledge the NSF/NOAO ReSTAR program, in addition to a Hale/Palomar acknowledgment. The requested wording for ReSTAR acknowledgements is:
"This material is based upon work supported by AURA through the National Science Foundation under AURA Cooperative Agreement AST 0132798 as amended."
Last updated or reviewed September 1, 2017.