AAT Service Observing Programme


Applications for AAT Service Time are now invited before

Tuesday, 7 Oct 2014, at 23:59
(Australian Eastern Standard Time).

Applications are welcomed from all astronomers, worldwide.

The following instruments are available for service observations: 2dF+HERMES, 2dF+AAOmega, IRIS2, UCLES, and KOALA+AAOmega.

Proposals are now accepted through the AAO's Proposal management system, Lens.

Service Programmes expire after 18 months. Current programmes that were submitted before 01 March 2013 will be purged from the queue.


All enquiries regarding the service program should be addressed to the service manager at service@aao.gov.au.

Key Links for Proposers (and AAO Observers)

Service Proposal Directory
Status of all current programmes in the queue for each instrument. (Individual proposal files are also available here for AAO internal access.)
Service Observing Report Form:
AAO internal access only.
Observing Report Archive
AAO internal access only.

General Information

How to apply
Application forms
AAT service schedules
Service proposal status summaries
Service observing reports
Special information for specific instruments


The Australian Astronomical Observatory operates a service observing programme at the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) for programmes that require up to six hours of observing time. Service time is normally allocated for programmes that require a small amount of data to complete a programme, to look at individual targets of interest, or to try out new observing techniques.

Service proposal deadlines are set three times each year: 1 February, 1 June and 1 October. The proposals are graded by a three member panel, a process which takes 3-4 weeks, before being accepted into the service programme.

In detail, the AAT service proposal system operates as follows:

  • Service proposals may be submitted for programmes that require up to six hours observing time.
  • The following instruments will be available for service observations:
  • Upcoming service nights are listed on the AAT Schedule.
  • Service proposals are refereed by a 3-member panel, normally within three to four weeks of the service proposal deadline. The panel consists of an AAO staff member together with two members of ATAC. If further information is required then a service proposal may be returned to the applicant for modification.
  • The referees grade service proposals on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high) and an average grade is assigned. To ensure service time remains competitive with scheduled AAT programmes, proposals assigned an average grade below 2.5 will not be executed. After a proposal has been refereed, the AAO will advise the sender of the averaged grade assigned by the referees.
  • Service proposals expire after a period of 18 months but may be resubmitted at any time.
  • "FLD" files for 2dF (HERMES or AAOmega) should be sumitted via email to the Service Manager.
  • Data will be made available as FITS format files. Wherever possible, these will be transferred to the proposer by anonymous ftp. Alternatively, files will be written to removable storage media.
  • Information on the current status of service proposals is given in a service proposal status summary.

Proposals are flexibly scheduled for execution based on proposal grade, instrumental configuration, observing conditions and target availability. You will maximise the chances of your proposal being executed if your proposal can make use of:

  • bright or grey time,
  • the most common grating or resolution configuration for instruments which can be reconfigured,
  • less popular parts of the sky, and
  • less demanding conditions of seeing and transparency.

How to apply for service time

AAT service proposal summaries

The following tables provide information on the status of service proposals accepted at the AAT. Please note that service proposals expire after a period of 18 months but may be re-submitted at any time.

Service observing reports

A nightly report is submitted by the AAO astronomer carrying out the service observing, which is normally forwarded to the PI of an observed programme.

Special Information for specific instruments

2dF (HERMES or AAOmega)

  • Fibres: There are 392 science fibres + 8 guide fibres on each plate, for multi-object spectroscopy.
  • Sky Subtraction: Nod-and-Shuffle sky subtraction is not available for Service Time programs, so dedicated sky fibres must be used.
  • .fld Files: The 2dF robot uses .fld files for positional information for multi-object spectroscopy. We now encourage proposers to submit these at the time of proposal submission, or at least before one of the fld deadlines for inclusion in scheduling. All fld files should conform to the guidelines on the web page Cookbook for 2dF Target Preparation using Configure".fld" files that the configure software cannot load may not be observed.


  • All gratings are available. Grating changes are not possible during a night, although grating angles can be changed. Refer to the online AAOmega Grating Calculator.