Applying for Observing Time
2017B Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) Call for Proposals
The main proposal deadline for AAT in Semester 2017B (August 2017 - January 2018) is:
15 March 2017, at 17:00
Australian Eastern Daylight Time, i.e. UTC + 11 hrs
Proposals to Australian Time Allocation Committee (ATAC) can be submitted until the deadline using the new Lens proposal form and are welcomed from all astronomers worldwide.
Applying for AAT Telescope Time through ATAC
Important information for applicants
- Time available for new proposals: because of existing Large Programs and other obligations, there are roughly 99 nights available for new proposals in Semester 17B (18 dark, 32 grey, 49 bright).
- The Large AAT Programs, the SAMI and OzDES Surveys, have been allocated 32 dark nights at certain RAs. New programs with targets outside of these RAs are more likely to be scheduled. The RA information for Large AAT Programs is available at this link.
- A separate call for Large AAT Programs has been made for programs starting in 2017B. More information is available at this link.
- Proposals for Long Term AAT Programs are welcome in 2017B.
- A new Target of Opportunity mode is now available with instruments using the 2dF positioner (AAOmega, HERMES) and KOALA. IRIS2 is still available in this mode.
- The Target of Opportunity policy will change starting 2017B and is available at this link.
- To help address issues associated with unconscious bias (e.g. see study at this link) the format of the proposals have been changed: (1) PI information will not be provided to ATAC, (2) investigator information will be provided at the end of the proposal and (3) investigator list will be sorted alphabetically. Feedback on these changes are welcome and should be sent to AAT Technical Secretary Lee Spitler (firstname.lastname@example.org) .
- For semester 2018A, the AAO is planning an intervention on the 2dF fibre cable and on HERMES. Both the 2dF-fed AAOmega and HERMES will be unavailable from February to May 2018. Other instruments that use AAOmega but not the 2dF fibre feed (e.g. SAMI, KOALA) will still be available during this period. More details will be provided in the next call for proposals.
- The UCLES spectrograph will be available for use in 2017B, but is currently planned for decommissioning in 2018A just prior to the installation of the VELOCE spectrograph.
- Based upon historical weather trends, about 33% of time is lost to bad weather. From 2016B proposers are therefore required to multiply their request by a factor of 1.5, to allow for time lost to weather.
New proposal submission system
The AAO has moved to a proposal submission system, known as Lens. This system is a user account based system, which will allow for improved security and better tracking of past and current proposals. There is an FAQ available for Lens, available via the FAQ tab in Lens itself, or via the direct link http://www.aao.gov.au/lens/faq .
Users who have applied for time as PI in the previous semesters (i.e. starting from 2013A to 2014B) have had accounts pre-configured and will have received an email with their login details. Users that applied for time from 2015A will also have a Lens account.
All other users are encouraged to register with the system at https://www.aao.gov.au/lens/register
Note that users cannot be added to proposals if they are not registered in Lens. Please make sure that all investigators on a proposal have registered well before the deadline!
For any queries or comments, please email email@example.com .
Historical oversubscription rates
The figure below shows the historical oversubscription rates at the AAT. Large program allocations are excluded from these calculations and error bars are from Poisson statistics. The fluctuations are largely dominated by whether Large programs were already scheduled when the call for proposals was made.
- The MITLL camera, a red-sensitive deep depletion detector, has been decommissioned and is no longer available for use on the UCLES spectrograph.
- IRIS2 Multi-Object Spectroscopic (MOS) mode has been decommissioned.
SAMI is now a general-user instrument. SAMI is the Sydney-AAO Multi-object Integral-field unit that feeds the AAOmega spectrograph. SAMI provides 13 fibre-based IFUs called 'hexabundles', each with a field of view of 15 arcseconds and are deployed by plug plate anywhere within a 1-degree field of view using the AAT's Prime Focus top end. For further information about observing with SAMI, see this website, or contact the SAMI instrument scientist Julia Bryant (firstname.lastname@example.org). Note, the 2dFDR data reduction pipeline has been tested using the AAOmega gratings that are used for the SAMI survey (580V and 1000R), but has not been tested with other AAOmega gratings.
HERMES is now a general-user instrument. HERMES is a four-channel, bench-mounted high-resolution spectrograph for use with the 2dF top end. The wavelength ranges of the four channels are fixed at 4715-4900 Å, 5649-5873 Å, 6478-6737 Å and 7585-7887 Å. The spectral resolution is nominally R~28,000, which can be raised to R~45,000. Questions about expected instrument performance should be directed to the HERMES instrument scientist, Gayandhi De Silva (email@example.com).
UCLES is a cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph located at the coude focus offering high resolution and good wavelength coverage. UCLES can receive light from the telescope via a 5 mirror coude train or via CYCLOPS, a 16-fibre single-target Integral Field Unit. CYCLOPS reformats an approximately 3 arcsec diameter aperture on the sky into an 16 x 0.6 arcsec pseudo-slit at the entrance of the UCLES spectrograph. A typical 1" slit will achieve R~50,000 whereas the CYCLOPS 0.6" hexagonal fibres achieve R~70,000. UCLES has a 31.6 lines/mm echelle grating, and a 79 lines/mm echelle grating. For questions regarding UCLES or the CYCLOPS IFU please contact the Instrument Scientist, Duncan Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org).
KOALA (Kilo-fibre Optical AAT Lenslet Array) has replaced SPIRAL as the integral-field capability to AAOmega. KOALA has a selectable spatial resolution of 0.7"or 1.25", an increase in throughput at all wavelengths, particularly at the extreme blue, and simplified field rotation. Information on KOALA can be found in the instrumentation page and a new exposure time calculator is available. Questions about expected performance should be directed to the KOALA instrument scientist, Ángel López-Sánchez (email@example.com).
Since Semester 13A, remote observing from the AAO's North Ryde headquarters has been available as an option for all AAT facility instruments. Observers who wish to travel to Sydney to carry out remote observations can continue to access the existing Travel and Accommodation support offered to AAT observers. From semester 16B, it will be possible to observe remotely from the remote observing facilities at the ANU and ICRAR. Use of these facilities will be restricted to experienced observers who have used the AAT in the past two years. Observers wishing to use these facilities will not be eligible for travel support from the AAO.
If projects require fewer than 6 hours of observing time, they can be performed in service time. Applications for service time are made electronically direct to the AAO and are now accepted year-round. See the AAT Service Observing page for more details.
The AAO requests all publications based upon data allocated through the AAO include the following acknowledgement:
Based [in part] on data acquired through the Australian Astronomical Observatory, [via program XXX].
How to Apply for AAT Time - the Basic Steps
Instrument status and policies
All ATAC applicants should check the latest Instrument Availability and recent Policy Announcements. If you require further clarification on any issue, then please contact the AAT Technical Secretary Lee Spitler (firstname.lastname@example.org).
See Special Override Rules for proposals seeking time as an override on another program's time and the Long Term Program page for those seeking long term status. Proposals requiring at most 6 hours of observing time should be submitted to the AAO's Service Observing program.
If the PI, and at least half the observing team are from European countries, they may apply for AAT time through the OPTICON program.
Full Technical Details, outlining how you derived your time estimates, observing constraints, and any special requests should be included in the scientific case (preferably under a separate section heading).
Proposals should be written such that the content and significance is understandable by a wide range of astronomers.
If your proposal seeks time on two instruments, outline carefully the relative requirements of the different instrument set-ups, including the split in observing time between the instruments.
If the observations are essential to the completion of a student's PhD thesis, then a full explanation must be given in the science case. No special consideration is given to proposals involving PhD students, except when attempting to schedule proposals near the cut-off, when some priority may be given.
After accounting for overheads (detector readout, calibrations and telescope slewing), observers are required to factor in an additional 50% to account for bad weather.
All applicants should be aware that it is the policy of the AAO that any backup project must use the same instrument as the main project.
A list of the principal targets (field centres for AAOmega+2dF programs) should be prepared as a separate PDF document. The target list should contain target name, RA (h m s), Dec (d m s), target brightness, and priority. There is a 2-page limit for this target list PDF file. Other document formats will not be accepted.
Proposal submission details
Prepare your main proposal offline, including an abstract, target list, science case, and technical justification. The science case and technical justification together should be, in PDF format, no more than three pages total, with two pages for the science case and one page for technical justification. Those three pages should include all references and figures, use 11pt font (or larger), and have at least 10mm margins. Colour figures are accepted. Other document formats will not be accepted.
Applicants seeking Long Term status may be allowed to submit up to five pages, provided prior permission is obtained well in advance from the ATAC Secretary, Helen Woods (email@example.com).
Submitting your proposal
When your proposal details are ready, submit your application to ATAC through Lens, the AAT's new proposal system. As noted above, this is a user-account-based system and all investigators on a proposal must be registered.
Contacting the ATAC Secretariat
The Secretary, ATAC
Australian Astronomical Observatory
PO Box 915
North Ryde NSW 1670
Phone: +61 (0)2 9372 4800 Fax: +61 (0)2 9372 4880
Email enquiries: Helen Woods (firstname.lastname@example.org)