In addition, the value of the proposed research to the educational and career development of the investigators may be considered in exceptional circumstances.
For CTIO proposals, preference may be given to proposals which can only be carried out in the southern hemisphere.
The NSF's NOIRLab is committed to maximizing the accessibility of astronomy to all qualified proposers. Many of the telescopes available through NSF's NOIRLab 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 2021A Call for Proposals covers proposals for observing programs at all ground-based facilities on which the NSF NOIRLab manages open-access observing time. Observing proposals for all telescopes, other than Gemini, must be submitted using the NSF NOIRLab Proposal Form, which is found at
An NSF NOIRLab proposal can either be prepared and submitted completely online or a LaTeX template can be completed locally and submitted via a web upload.
AAT Proposals: The Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and NSF NOIRLab/CTIO are continuing a time exchange arrangement, to allow our respective communities to maximize the scientific facilities and opportunities to which we have access. In 2020B, five classically-scheduled nights on the Anglo-Australian Telescope will be available to the NSF NOIRLab community. All AAT facility instruments are available.
Proposals for this time should be submitted through the NSF NOIRLab proposal form. The proposals will be reviewed by the NSF NOIRLab 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 2020 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.
3. News and Updates for Semester 2021A
The following updatess to instrumentation and or observing time at all facilities available through NSF's NOIRLab are noted here to alert investigators preparing proposals.
3.1 NNEXPLORE in 2021A: Time Available on the CTIO 1.5m with CHIRON and MINERVA-Australis. Note: No New WIYN Proposals Solicited for Semester 2021A
The WIYN 3.5m telescope (along with all telescopes on Kitt Peak) has been closed since mid-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, at this time, there is no scheduled date for re-opening. Due to this closure and its impact on Semester 2020A (1 February 2020 - 31 July 2020), as well as continuing impact on Semester 2020B (which began on 1 August 2020), WIYN is not soliciting new proposals for semester 2021A. Those PIs with approved NEID programs for Semester 2020A will remain in the NEID queue for Semester 2021A. At this point, there is no WIYN/NEID schedule for Semester 2020B and all 2020B proposals are being held in reserve by WIYN in order to prepare a schedule when the observatory reopens. If you have questions about WIYN/NEID please contact us (email@example.com
The other opportunities for NNEXPLORE continue; the CTIO/SMARTS 1.5m with the precision radial-velocity spectrometer CHIRON is available, with 300 hours (equivalent to 30 nights of service observing) of NNEXPLORE time.
As part of the NNEXPLORE program, NASA entered in a partnership with the MINERVA-Australis consortium starting in 2020B. That agreement continues in Semester 2021A, with 300 hours of observing time open to NNEXPLORE proposals. MINERVA-Australis is a dedicated exoplanet observatory operated by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in Queensland, Australia. The facility is located at USQ's Mt. Kent Observatory, and saw first light in quarter two 2018; commissioning of the facility was completed in mid-2019. MINERVA-Australis currently consists of 5 (0.7m) PlaneWave CDK700 telescopes; these telescopes have two ports, allowing each to be used for either spectroscopic or photometric observations. A summary of the facility and its capabilities can be found in the commissioning paper by Addison et al. 2019 (https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019PASP..131k5003A
). The photometric channel is capable of milli-magnitude precision and currently, the light from four telescopes can be combined onto one R=75,000 echelle spectrograph for radial velocity precisions of 1 -10 m/s depending on the target brightness and how many telescopes are combined.
3.2 Gemini North and South
The Gemini Observatory has released a Call for Proposals for 2021A at:
The Gemini Call contains all of the information necessary to submit a Gemini proposal. We suggest strongly that you also read the Gemini CfP if you are requesting Gemini time.
Proposers requesting Gemini time must use the Gemini Phase-I Tool (PIT):
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.
Potential Gemini-N ALTAIR users, note that ALTAIR is not offered in semester 2021A.
Gemini and Subaru are continuing their time-exchange program. A minimum of 5 nights will be available to the Gemini community, providing that 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).
3.3 Zwicky Transient Facility and ANTARES event brokering
The NSF MSIP-funded Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) is currently issuing public transient alerts. The two ZTF public surveys (https://www.ptf.caltech.edu/page/ztf_msip
) are (1) an all-sky survey with a three-night cadence and (2) a Galactic-plane survey with a nightly cadence. Both these surveys are expected to reach approximate point-source depths of r = 20.4 and g = 21.0. Further information can be found through the ZTF project website (https://www.ptf.caltech.edu/ztf
For 2021A, the NSF NOIRLab encourages submission of proposals for “target-of-opportunity” (ToO) follow-up observing triggered by ZTF alerts. Proposals should plan to use the current ToO policies and mechanisms for the facilities allocated through the NSF NOIRLab TAC. More information about current ToO policies and procedures at available open-access facilities can be found here:
Gemini Target of Opportunity observing:
CTIO Target of Opportunity observing:
SOAR Target of Opportunity observing
Las Cumbres Observatory scheduling (including ToO)
The NSF NOIRLab is currently filtering ZTF alerts through the ANTARES event
capabilities include positional and/or catalog-based filters with
associated delta-magnitude thresholds, as well as more complex
filters. Proposers interested in employing these ANTARES
capabilities within their programs during 2021A are encouraged to
proposal deadline. Support for ANTARES science verification programs
will be subject to availability of resources; depending on demand
during this initial call, it is possible that only a subset of
programs will be chosen for use with ANTARES.
The Mayall 4-m telescope is currently in the midst of commissioning the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). No time will be available through the NSF NOIRLab TAC.
As noted in Section 3.1, due to the extended closure of the WIYN Observatory (since mid-March 2020) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, no new WIYN 3.5m NNEXPLORE proposals are solicited for Semester 2021A.
New proposals are solicited for the 0.9m with HDI.
Note that as of the date of this Call, 1 September 2020, CTIO remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with no scheduled reopening date; however, proposals are being solicited for Semester 2021A.
Instruments available: In 2021A, CTIO will be offering the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) and the Cerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (COSMOS).
Nights available in 2021A for new regular programs is approximately 63.
Five nights of AAT time are available as part of an observing time-swap between the CTIO Blanco and the AAT 3.9m.
In the case of Blanco proposals from Semester 2020A that were approved but not executed due to the COVID-19 closure, PIs may resubmit their proposals and these will be routed to the same TAC panels.
Note that as of the date of this Call, SOAR remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with no scheduled reopening date; however, new proposals are solicitied for Semester 2021A, with approximately 35 nights available for new programs.
PIs of approved 2020A SOAR programs that were not completed may resubmit their proposals, which will then be sent to the same TAC panels.
The SOAR website is located at:
Instruments: All instruments that were available in the previous semester, including TripleSpec 4.1, are currently available. See the Facilities Table in Sections 4.1 and 4.2 below for a list with links.
Queue scheduling: For semester 2021A, SOAR will continue to offer queue time through the AEON network (http://www.ctio.noao.edu/soar/content/soar-aeon-home-page). Because we have a stable operation, we can now confidently support proposals that require the flexibility the AEON queue offers, in particular programs requiring small amounts of time spread over the semester, or where targets are not entirely predictable. AEON remains the recommended choice for programs with a large number of targets distributed over the sky, as well as those where monthly or bi-weekly cadences are required. We cannot generally support higher cadences (e.g., weekly) unless demand increases sufficiently; exceptions may be possible where the higher cadence is only required for a portion of the semester. Note that we can and do support observations of solar system objects using non-sidereal tracking.
At present, we can only commit to supporting the Goodman spectrograph in 2021A, however will be able to support both red and blue cameras and additional configurations where demand warrants. Specifically, we would add the blue camera if demand warrants, along with additional blue or high-resolution configurations for either or both cameras.
Time is allocated based on TAC priority and the AEON queue is currently filled at 100%, so the expected fraction of clear time is the same as for classical observing. Investigators receiving time through all SOAR partners are eligible to participate; time continues to be allocated by the individual partners.
Please consult the AEON pages for further details and for contact information if you have questions the website doesn't answer.
SMARTS (1.5m with CHIRON and 0.9m with CFCCD)
Time on the small telescopes at CTIO will be available to NSF NOIRLab users in 2021A. The telescopes are operated by the SMARTS consortium with up to 15% of time available to the NSF NOIRLab community.
Note that time on the 1.3m is not avaialble in 2021A.
The 0.9m + CFCCD is available in user mode only. It is being operated on a part time basis (operating on up to 60% of nights), during the 2021A semester. As a result up to 24 nights will be available for allocation by the NSF NOIRLab TAC For more information on the 0.9m, please contact Dr. Todd Henry 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). 300 hours is available for the NNEXPLORE program, and 200 hours will be available for scheduling by the NOIR Lab TAC for non-NNEXPLORE programs. For more information on the 1.5m, please contact Dr. Todd Henry at email@example.com.
3.6 Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO)
As in recent semesters, NOIR Lab time is available on both the 1m and 2m telescopes comprising the LCO global array. In Semester 2021A, 1250 hours of time are available on the 1m telescopes and 200 hours on the 2m telescopes. More information on LCO facilities can be found at:
3.7 CHARA (Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy)
As in recent semesters, 30 nights of observing time on CHARA are available through NOIRLab. More information on CHARA can be found at:
4. General Information about Facilities Available through NOIR Lab
4.1 Facilities List
4.2 Telescope and Instrument Lists (with Instrument Proposal Code and Web-link)
GMOS-N: Gemini Optical Imager, Multi-Object Spectrograph and IFU
GNIRS: Gemini Near Infra-Red Spectrograph
GNIRS + Altair: Gemini Near Infra-Red Spectrograph with NGS, LGS, or LGS+PWFS1 AO systems (Altair)
NIFS: Near-IR IFU Spectrograph
-Note that ALTAIR is not being offered in 2021A, so the configuration below is not available.
NIFS + Altair: Near-IR IFU Spectrograph with NGS, LGS, or LGS+PWFS1 AO systems (Altair)
NIRI: Near-Infrared Imager
-Note that ALTAIR is not being offered in 2021A, so the configuration below is not available.
NIRI + Altair: Near-IR Imager with NGS, LGS, LGS+PWFS1 AO systems
'Alopeke: Speckle Camera (visiting instrument)
GRACES: Gemini Remote Access to CFHT ESPaDOnS Spectrograph (visiting instrument)
POLISH-2: High-precision optical polarimeter (visiting instrument)
MAROON-X: Precision Radial-Velocity High-Reolution Spectrograph
FLAMINGOS-2: Near-Infrared Wide Field Imager and Spectrometer (imaging and longslit modes only)
GMOS-S: Gemini Optical Imager, Multi-Object Spectrograph and IFU
GPI: Gemini Planet Imager
GSAOI/GeMS: Gemini Adaptive Optics Imager with Multi-Conjugate AO System
Zorro: Speckle Camera (visiting Instrument)
IGRINS: High-Resolution Near-IR Cross-Dispersed Echelle Spectrometer (visiting instrument)
Subaru (Gemini Exchange time)
AO 188 (Subaru 188-element Adaptive Optics system) is available, but no LGS-AO.
FOCAS: Faint Object Camera and Spectrograph; the IFU mode is available.
HDS: High Dispersion Spectrograph (optical).
HSC: Hyper Suprime-Cam Wide-Field Optical Imager: queue is the primary mode.
IRCS: IR Camera and Spectrograph: all polarimetry mode of IRCS is open as a shared-risk mode.
IRCS+AO188: IRCS + Natural and Laser Guide Star AO
MOIRCS: Multi-Object IR Camera and Spectrograph: will be hibernated from 2021A for two years during SWIMS operation (see below).
Visiting Instruments on Subaru offered in 2021A (limited to one or two runs)
CHARIS: Coronagraphic High Angular Resolution Imaging Spectrograph - provides high contrast images of exoplanets, disks, brown dwarfs with SCExAO+AO188. https://scholar.princeton.edu/charis
SCExAO: Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics - delivers high contrast images of the innermost surrounding of bright sources to CHARIS. The VAMPIRES module in SCExAO is also available for science observations in 2021A. https://www.naoj.org/Projects/SCEXAO/scexaoWEB/000home.web/indexm.html
IRD: Infrared high-dispersion, high resolution (up to 70,000) fiber-fed spectrometer. IRD provides high spectral resolution echelle spectroscopy and radial velocity measurements from 0.97 to 1.75 um simultaneously combined with AO188. IRD is available only in shared-risk. IRD SSP started in 2019A – any IRD proposal must clarify how its scientific aim is different from SSP. http://ird.mtk.nao.ac.jp/IRDpub/index_tmp.html . A new observing mode, REACH (SCExAO+IRD), is available: http://secondearths.sakura.ne.jp/reach/
SWIMS: Simultaneous-color Wide-field Infrared Multi-object Spectrograph - an imager and multi-object spectrograph in the NIR wavelength region. SWIMS is offered in shared-risk mode from Semester 2021A to 2022B as a substitute for MOIRCS, though the final decision will be made in October 2020. If SWIMS is unavailable in Semester 2021A, Subaru will consider operating MOIRCS instead. SWIMS proposals can request MOIRCS as a back-up instrument by clearly specifiying the back-up plan using MOIRCS (observing method and technical details section). Note that the scientific goal(s) and observing method(s) of the back-up plan must be the same as the main proposal. No "MOIRCS-only" proposals will be accepted. http://www.ioa.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp/TAO/swims/?Summary_for_Subaru_S21A_CfP
CTIO 4m Blanco
DECam: Wide-Field Optical Imager
COSMOS: CTIO Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph
Goodman: Goodman Spectrograph
SOI: SOAR Optical Imager
TripleSpec4.1 (ex-ARCOIRIS): Cross-dispersed, single-object, longslit, IR imaging spectrograph
Spartan: Spartan IR Imager
SAM: SOAR Adaptive Module
HRCAM: High-Resolution Camera
SAMHR: SAM + HRCAM
SIFS: SOAR Integral Field Spectrograph
NEID: NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler spectroscopy, precision RV spectrograph
ODI: One Degree Imager (40' x 48' focal plane)
HYDRB: Hydra + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Blue camera
HYDRR: Hydra + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Red camera
SPSPKB: SparsePak Fiber Array + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Blue camera
SPSPKR: SparsePak Fiber Array + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Red camera
WHIRC: WIYN High Resolution IR Camera
GRDPK: GradPak IFU
HEXPK: HexPak IFU
NESSI: NASA Exoplanet Star (and) Speckle Imager
CLASSIC: IR (H or K) Imaging
CLIMB: IR (H or K) Imaging
MIRC: Low-resolution H-band Spectroscopy
PAVO: Low-resolution Optical Spectroscopy
VEGA: Medium-resolution and High-resolution Optical Spectroscopy
LCO-2m Global Network
Spectral: Optical Imager
FLOYDS: Cross-dispersed Low-resolution Spectrograph
LCO-1m Global Network
Sinistro: Optical Imager
NRES: High-resolution Fiber-fed Echelle Spectrograph
CHIRON: High-resolution Fiber-fed Cross-dispersed Echelle Spectrograph for Precision RV
CFIM+T2K: Cass Direct + SITe 2K CCD
HDI: Half-Degree Imager
5. How to Acknowledge Use of NSF NOIRLab Facilities
There are a variety of credit lines which are appropriate for citing the use of data from one or more of the NOIR Lab facilities. Please acknowledge the proper observatories by using the appropriate credit line as discussed below.
NOIRLab generic press release
NSF's National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab), the US center for ground-based optical-infrared astronomy, operates the international Gemini Observatory (a facility of NSF, NRC-Canada, ANID-Chile, MCTIC-Brazil, MINCyT-Argentina, and KASI-Republic of Korea), Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO ), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), the Community Science and Data Center (CSDC), and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. It is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with NSF and is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomical community is honored to have the opportunity to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du’ag (Kitt Peak) in Arizona, on Maunakea in Hawaiʻi, and on Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón in Chile. We recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that these sites have to the Tohono O’odham Nation, to the Native Hawaiian community, and to the local communities in Chile, respectively.
Observers should also note their NOIRLab 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, NOIRLab, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
NOIRLab staff members are asked to add a footnote after their names on the title page that reads: Kitt Peak National Observatory, NOIRLab, 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, the NSF National Optical Infrared Astronomy Research Lab, the University of Missouri, Purdue University, Penn State University, and the University of California at Irvine.
For publications resulting from NNEXPLORE 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 NOIR Lab."
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. NSF NOIR Lab, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and Michigan State University (MSU)."
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 NOIR Lab, through the Telescope System Instrumentation Program (TSIP). TSIP is funded by NSF.” Observers should also note their NOIR Lab 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