Applying for Observing Time
2016A AAT Call for Proposals
The main proposal deadline for AAT and CTIO time-swap time in Semester 2016A (February 2016 - July 2016) is:
Tuesday, 15 September 2015, at 17:00
Australian Eastern Standard Time, i.e. UTC + 10 hrs
Proposals to 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 77 nights available for new proposals in Semester 16A (10 dark, 38 grey, 29 bright). A call for Large AAT Programs will not be made in Semester 2016A. Proposals for Long Term AAT Programs are welcome in 2016A.
New proposal submission system
The AAO has moved to a new 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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
- HERMES will not be available for use during June to August 2016 while its dewars are upgraded.
- From 2016A SAMI will be supported as a general-user instrument.
- UHRF 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 (email@example.com). Note, the 2dFDR data reduction pipeline has been tested using the AAOmega gratings that are used for the SAMI survey, 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 (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. We are developing a framework for offsite remote observing at a later stage, in order to allow astronomers across Australia to observe from their home institutions. Until that system is ready, 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.
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].
Applying for CTIO time-swap Time through ATAC
AAO-CTIO time-swap arrangement
The AAO and NOAO/CTIO have initiated a time-swap arrangement, to allow our respective communities to maximise their scientific opportunities through access to a broader range of facilities.
In Semester 16A there will be 5 nights available to the Australian community to apply for CTIO time.
Generally a uniform distribution of lunations will be available to the Australian community. This uniform distribution is particularly important in B semesters (especially Sept-Nov) due to existing CTIO commitments. Note, DECam has been demonstrated to produce useful imaging in the reddest filters (izY) on all but the very brightest nights.
All scheduled observations will be carried out in classical mode with observers required to travel to the telescope. The International Telescopes Support Office (ITSO) at the AAO has secured funding via Astronomy Australia Ltd to reimburse the costs of Australian DECam PI observer travel to Chile in Semester 2016A, on a similar basis to the way Australian Magellan observers are funded.
Note, starting from 2016 only 5 CTIO nights per semester will be available through the AAO. Previously, 15 CTIO nights were available in Semester A.
The DECam imager, the TripleSpec4 ARCoIRIS IR spectrograph and the COSMOS spectrograph are available for Australian proposals. COSMOS is available in an imaging, longslit and multi-object spectroscopy modes. Information about the new IR spectrograph is avaible at this webpage.
How to apply
Those who wish to apply for this time should do so using the Lens proposal system, selecting "CTIO 4m" from the telescopes menu on the first page of the proposal form.
The standard proposal page limits and recommendations regarding technical justifications should be followed. The proposals will be assessed by ATAC, and graded proposals provided to CTIO for scheduling.
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.
All AAT applicants are required to add on a 33% allowance for bad weather to the total time you estimate you will need to reach the desired signal-to-noise, plus readout, slewing, and acquisition time.
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. The split into two pages science, plus one page technical, is a change from previous semesters. 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.
The limit for pre-approved Long-Term programs is five pages. Please contact the ATAC Secretary, Helen Woods (email@example.com) well in advance of submitting this kind of proposal.
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)