Call for Proposals to use the LCOGT 2m telescope facilities
The 2013A semester runs from 1 April 2013 to 30 September, 2013.
The Warrumbungle National Park, home of the Siding Spring Observatory and FTS, is currently suffering a serious bushfire which has destroyed a number of structures close to the Observatory including the Observer's Lodge. Although this fire is still burning at the time of writing, it appears that the telescopes have survived. FTS itself has lost a cable to its external weather station but otherwise appears to be OK. Needless to say, much work and some repairs will be necessary before it can return to operation. This will probably cause a delay in the engineering work we had planned for late February/early March 2013, including the realuminizing of the primary mirror. At this stage we hope to have FTS back in operation within approximately 1.5 months but we cannot make accurate predictions. Once it does return to operation, we expect to have to close the dome during periods of relatively low wind speeds, to avoid blowing ash entering the dome. FTS may therefore have reduced on-sky time over the course of the 2013A semester.
Both FTN and FTS have new FLOYDS long-slit spectrographs. Both instruments are operational and we are currently completing the integration of them with our robotic control system. For this reason, and due to the additional work currently involved in operating them, a number of additional rules apply:
Eligibility to apply to this call is limited to members of institutions with which LCOGT has formal agreements, and to individuals from other institutions who are principal investigators on an observing projects that have been granted Faulkes Telescope time during the last 2 years. The list of eligible institutions includes LCOGT itself, UCSB, UH, ANU, MacQuarie U., ARI, and the Faulkes Telescope Project. I am sending this to a representative (but not exhaustive) list of people at those institutions. If you are one of these, please pass this message to your interested colleagues. I have tried to make an exhaustive list of eligible individuals from other institutions; if you are getting this email directly from me, you may assume you are on my list and are eligible. If you get this call by other means and think you qualify, then please excuse my oversight, and get in touch.
To those connected with programs to which we already have made major commitments (e.g. the schools programs, Faulkes Telescope Project, U. Hawaii, ANU, ARI, and Robonet.) I ask that you please submit proposals anyway. In particular, please tell me the fraction of hours that you expect to use for fixed-group observing, for queue-scheduled observing, (flexible and monitor groups), and for ToO observing. I will email each of these groups separately in a few days with the number of hours that they may expect to receive this semester.
When estimating the number of exposures required, please factor in the following overheads:
Most proposals will be allocated a priority automatically by the TAC. However, we also offer background-priority ranking, which can be selected on the proposal form. Background programs are intended to fill gaps in the schedule when no other program can be done, by providing reservoir of observations which can be executed at any time and (ideally) in any conditions. Please note that only queue-scheduled observations can be made through a background proposal, and no guarantees can be made as to its execution. Nevertheless, background proposals should clearly state the amount of time requested. All other proposals should go through the standard TAC-ranked channel.
To those connected with programs to which we already have made major commitments (e.g. the schools programs, U. Hawaii, ANU, ARI, and Robonet.) I ask that you please submit proposals anyway. In particular, please tell me the fraction of hours that you expect to use for fixed-group observing, for queue-scheduled observing, (flexible and monitor groups), and for ToO observing. I will email each of these groups separately in a few days with the number of hours that they may expect to receive this semester.
Instructions on how to apply for telescope time can be found on the Guidelines for applying for telescope time page:
where you can download the Latex template and style files for your proposal.
To submit the proposal, you will need to register at our 2-meter proposal portal:
and then follow the Submit Proposal link.
We ask users to propose for time based on the type of observing required by their programs, as reflected in the Proposal Template. These types are Fixed-block, Queue-scheduled, and Target of Opportunity (ToO) observations. This distinction is necessary because the observation types differ with respect to the mechanism by which observations are scheduled, and the expected cost in telescope resource per hour of on-sky time.
If you desire fixed-block time, do not pad your request to allow for possible bad weather; ask for what your science requires. The TAC will take weather into account (up to a factor of 2 padding) without your asking. If, however, such padding does not make sense (perhaps you wish to observe a once-in-a-century event, for which repeat observing is not possible), then please put a statement to this effect in the body of your proposal.
If the TAC awards you fixed-block observing time for your science you will be allocated an LCOGT liaison astronomer. Please coordinate the scheduling and the particulars of your observing requirements directly with them. Give as much advance warning as possible so we can resolve any conflicting programs, but at least 3-5 weeks (the schedule is usually done in 2-week blocks, with requests due 3 weeks before the start of the block).
The rules for how time is deducted from a user's observing program based on the observation type are as follows: