- O/IR System
Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) and NSF have entered into an agreement through which time on LCO telescopes is being made available to the community at large. Funding for this program is being provided through NSF/AST's Mid-Scale Innovations Program (MSIP). Starting in 2017, approximately 1220 hours of 1-meter time and 220 hours of 2-meter time per semester are being allocated over a period of seven semesters.
NOAO has responsibility for community liaison, supporting community science, and assigning time through the NOAO Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC) process. This Call for Proposals (CfP) is part of the regular 2019A NOAO TAC process, with the same observing form, deadlines, and meeting dates as other NOAO resources. However, the observing period will begin and end 2 months earlier, running from 1 December 2018 - 31 May 2019.
Las Cumbres Observatory began full-time science operations in May 2014. The LCO network comprises nine 1-m and two 2-m optical telescopes, optimized for time-domain studies, and operated as a single observatory. There are 2-m telescopes in Australia and Hawaii, and 1-m telescopes in Texas, Chile, Australia, and South Africa. Additional 1-m telescopes are planned for Texas, China and the Canary Islands. Coverage (i.e. the ability to observe continuously over 24 hours) is complete in the southern hemisphere, and upcoming deployments, in progress or planned, will make it complete in the north.
The 2-m telescopes are instrumented with 10 arcminute field-of-view imagers and R=500 spectrographs. The 1-m telescopes are instrumented with 26 arcminute field-of-view imagers. A set of fiber-coupled, R=50,000 spectrographs is nearing completion. The first unit was deployed in early 2017. Spectrographs are operating at three sites (South Africa, Chile, Texas). A fourth spectrograph has been installed (in Israel) and is expected to begin science observations during the 2019A semester.
The observatory operates robotically. Each site decides when it is safe to open. Requested observations are scheduled by a single scheduling program that dynamically optimizes queues for each telescope. Note: dynamic network scheduling is a powerful concept. Observations are literally moved from telescope to telescope or even site to site in real time, to optimize a global schedule merit function. To benefit time-domain science, specialized scheduling modes are supported, including the ability to request cadence-driven observation sequences, as well as a "rapid-response" mode that triggers and observations to begin just a few minutes after a request is submitted, and a "time-critical" scheduling mode for observations that must be made at relatively tightly constrained times that rarely occur.
Data are pipeline-processed to remove instrumental signatures and may be downloaded from an archive, through a web form, or a programmatic API in as little as 15 minutes after the shutter closes. After 12 months, proprietary data becomes public. Additional, detailed information about sites, telescopes, and instrument capabilities and performance is available on the LCO website. The website also has links to tools for planning or requesting observations.
The LCO network has been fully scheduled for science for well over four years.
Specific goals for the use of this community open-access time are:
This call for proposals covers the time period for observations beginning on 1 December 2018 and continuing through 31 May 2019.
Time period of observations:
|Call for Proposals issued:||1 September 2018|
|Deadline for proposal submission to NOAO:||1 October 2018 at 11:59pm MST|
|TAC meets:||29 October - 2 November 2018|
|Outcome communicated to PIs:||~16 November 2018|
|2019A LCO Observation Dates:||1 December 2018 - 31 May 2019|
Questions or comments about applying for LCO time offered in this call can be sent to Verne Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Questions about technical or operational aspects of the LCO capabilities can be sent to email@example.com
Last updated or reviewed September 5, 2018.