Applying for Gemini

Australian proposals for Gemini time are currently OPEN. Proposals must be submitted electronically, via use of the 2017B version of the Gemini Phase I Tool (PIT), to the Australian Time Allocation Committee (ATAC) by: 5:00pm AEST, Friday 31 March 2017

There are strict target accessibility limits in force. Targets for Gemini North should have 19h < RA < 24h or 0h < RA < 12.5h and -37 < Dec < +90; for Gemini South targets should have 16h < RA < 24h or 0h < RA < 12h and -90 < Dec < +28.

Exceptions to the target limits may be allowed for very short observations, or with relaxed observing constraints. For 2017B there are additional constraints on all LGS programs at Gemini South, on all visitor instruments, and on GPI.

The Gemini Observatory has released the 2017B Call for Proposals for use of the Gemini North and Gemini South Telescopes. This ITSO page contains only a summary of the Gemini call for proposals, and information specific to ATAC applicants in 2017B. It should be read in conjunction with the complete 2017B Gemini Observatory Call for Proposals web page, which gives more details on the instruments available, Right Ascension and Declination constraints, etc.

What's New in 2017B?

  • Australia ceased to be a full partner in Gemini on 31 December 2015. Astronomy Australia Ltd and the AAO have secured a limited-term partnership for 2017, providing a total of 7 classical nights in Semesters 2017A and 2017B split between Gemini North and Gemini South. ATAC allocated 3 of those nights in Semester 2017A, so for Semester 2017B there will be nominally 2 classical nights on Gemini North plus 2 classical nights on Gemini South to allocate.
  • As a limited-term partner, Australia is ineligible to participate in the Gemini queue process; the exchange program with Subaru; or in the joint proposal process. Additionally, access to block-scheduled instruments is subject to scheduling constraints, and not guaranteed. The block-scheduled instruments are GSAOI, GRACES, DSSI, and Phoenix.
  • Starting in 2017B 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 North Laser Guide Star (Altair with LGS) system will not be available for regular programs in 2017B. Natural Guide Star (NGS) programs with Altair will still be offered.
  • For FLAMINGOS-2, two new medium K-band filters are available for science observations in 2017B, in shared risk mode, pending installation and characterization in 2017A. The FLAMINGOS-2 OIWFS is available for science observations requiring image quality IQ 85%ile or better.
  • POLISH2, a high-precision polarimeter, will be available as a visitor instrument by arrangement with the PI at Gemini North in 2017B. The Phoenix high resolution near-infrared spectrograph will be available as a visitor instrument at Gemini South in 2017B, while the DSSI optical speckle camera will be available as a visitor instrument at Gemini North and at Gemini South.
  • New Hamamatsu CCDs are currently being installed in GMOS-North and are expected to be available for science in 2017B. Applicants should use the Hamamatsu CCD option when using the GMOS-N ITC for Semester 2017B.
  • The non-redundant mask in the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) will be offered for Semester 2017B, in shared risk mode.
  • The use of an On-Detector Guide Window (ODGW) star for flexure compensation with the Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI) is no longer required, opening up many targets which were previously inaccessible.

Classical Observing with Gemini

ATAC Gemini allocations in 2017 will be in "classical" mode where the PI is assigned specific nights and travels to the Gemini base facility in Hilo or La Serena to carry out these observations. ITSO will reimburse the observer(s) for associated costs as outlined in the Gemini travel policy.

Proposing for Gemini in 2017B

Proposals should request at least half a night, and at most two nights on any one telescope. Applicants must indicate in the Observing Conditions section the poorest conditions (principally the Image Quality and the Cloud Cover) they can use and still achieve their science goals. They should also specify a backup program (which may employ a different instrument if available) they would carry out if conditions are worse than this.

Although requests for queue mode on Gemini are not being sought in 2017B, ATAC may identify a subset of highly-ranked but unsuccessful programs submitted for classical time as being suitable for a "mini-queue" of programs to be executed by the scheduled PI (with assistance from Gemini staff), in case conditions are not good enough for their primary program. Applicants who would like their proposal to be considered for the mini-queue if not allocated classical time should indicate this in the technical justification section of their proposal.

Target-of-Opportunity (ToO) proposals cannot be submitted as classical programs. However, applicants may request classical time to follow up targets whose location and characteristics may not be known at the time of submission (e.g. supernovae, new objects of interest from ongoing surveys, etc.).


Submitting Gemini Proposals

The Gemini Phase I Proposal Tool (PIT) is a Java program which must be installed on the applicant's own computer (Mac OS-X, Linux, or Windows). A new version (2017B.2.1) is available for the 2017B round, and must be used. It can be downloaded from PIT Installation. You will also require the default LaTeX style file and template, or Word template for 2017B to create the scientific and technical justifications, as well as the ancillary information. These can also be downloaded from within the PIT itself as one of the Help options. Do not attempt to change the font size, margins, etc. in the style file or template.

Applicants for ATAC time in 2017B should ensure they set Proposal Class to Classical Observing at Gemini in the Time Requests tab of the PIT, and then identify the anticipated visiting observer(s) from the list of Investigators. Time requests from Australia only (time cannot be requested from any other partners as part of a joint proposal) should be in units of nights, not hours.

ATAC applicants should use the "Gemini default" style file and LaTeX/Word templates. The scientific case, experimental design, and technical case sections each have a maximum length of one page of text, while the figures, captions, references, and tables may use up to two additional pages. Appended output from the ITCs does not count towards these totals. In the "Experimental Design" section the PI should address how these observations contribute toward the accomplishment of the goals outlined in the science justification; information on the targets/sample size; data analysis; additional calibrations, etc. PIs are strongly encouraged to include the output from the instrument time calculators in the proposal. Save or convert this document into PDF format, then attach it to the proposal submission by clicking on the paper clip icon next to the "PDF attachment goes here" line in the Overview tab of the PIT.

If time is being requested on both Gemini North and Gemini South instruments for the one scientific program, then you only need to submit one proposal, and state explicitly in the Technical Description the split of time between telescopes being sought.

Gemini has provided a comprehensive set of help pages and also video tutorials to help get you started. Please study these first, and if you need further assistance or clarification then submit a Helpdesk request.

The electronic submission process built into the PIT for Australian proposals will send the proposal XML file and PDF attachment to the International Telescopes Support Office at the Australian Astronomical Observatory, which is the service organization for ATAC. The PIT will flag any issues or missing elements of a proposal in the "Problems" section. Only when these are rectified will the PIT enable you to submit the proposal from the Submit tab. Pressing "Submit this Proposal" will attempt to upload your proposal and PDF attachment to the proposal server at Gemini. If successful this will be reported in the Submit tab (not in a separate pop-up window) with Status = "Received", along with a proposal reference number and contact e-mail in case you have any further queries. You will not receive any acknowledgement e-mail. If you do not see a reference number but the PIT Submit tab shows the proposal status as "Received", please send an e-mail to itso -@- - do not try to re-submit the proposal. The PIT will not allow you to submit the same proposal twice; you will have to use the "Open an Editable Copy" option from the Submit tab if you wish to re-use a proposal from a previous semester.