Las Cumbres Observatory is soliciting proposals for science observations for the 2020A semester, which will begin on 3 December 2019 and run through 31 May 2020. This call is for astronomers from institutions without guarantees of Network time: the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), the University of Colorado, and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC). Astronomers affiliated with LCO, including Time Allocation Committee members and Science Advisory Committee members, are also welcome to submit proposals. (LCO's Science Collaboration partners that have guaranteed time conduct independent proposal solicitations and reviews.)
For the 2020A semester, Las Cumbres Observatory has two 2-meter telescopes, eleven 1-meter telescopes and ten 0.4-meter telescopes available for science observations. The 2m telescopes are equipped with Spectral imagers and FLOYDS low-dispersion spectrographs. The 1m telescopes are equipped with Sinistro imagers. The Network of Robotic Echelle Spectrographs (NRES) has units installed on 1m telescopes at our Cerro Tololo (Chile), McDonald (Texas), Sutherland (South Africa), and Wise (Israel) sites. The 0.4m telescopes are equipped with SBIG imagers. For information on all Network instruments, please consult the Observatory Instruments page.
In the 2020A semester, we estimate that approximately 350, 1800, and 4500 hours will be available on the 2m, 1m, and 0.4m telescopes, respectively.
Eligibility to apply to this call is limited to members of institutions with which LCO has formal agreements, but without guaranteed time, and to individuals from LCO and other institutions who are included by special permission of the LCO Director. The list of eligible institutions includes LCO itself, the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at Caltech, the University of Colorado, and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC).
Proposals must be submitted through LCO's website, but before you can submit a proposal, you must register at LCO's Observatory portal. When you have access to the portal, you can click on the "Create or edit proposals" link to access the web-based proposal form.
We recommend that you consult the Guidelines for Writing Proposals. The Guidelines page contains a description of the proposal format, information on the available instruments, and links to the Observatory Tools. The tools that are particularly useful when preparing proposals are the exposure time calculator and the target visibility calculator, which shows how observable a given position (RA & Dec) is on the LCO Network.
LCO supports three observing modes:
Proposals must request queue-scheduled, time-critical and rapid-response time observations separately, and time-critical and rapid-response requests must be adequately justified.
Authors of proposals that have special scheduling constraints (e.g., simultaneous observations by two telescopes, multi-night or multi-site time series) are strongly advised to contact LCO personnel for advice on feasibility before submission.
Time charged includes all the overhead associated with slewing the telescope, acquiring the target, preparing the instrument, and reading out the detector, in addition to the actual exposure time. You should include overheads in the time request in your proposal. Overhead information is available in a table in the Guidelines for Writing Proposals, as well as on the Instruments page. Use the appropriate Slew & Settle time and Acquisition & Setup time for each new object, then add the readout time for each separate exposure.
Time is charged for all exposures attempted, regardless of the quality or delivery of the data.
The Observatory portal displays the number of hours of an approved allocation that have been used.
All proposals will be reviewed by a Time Allocation Committee (TAC) whose members are selected from the astronomical community and are not affiliated with LCO. Proposals will be evaluated based on scientific merit, experimental design, and credibility of the proposing team. We welcome proposals that have a significant educational component. For proposals that are accepted, our goal is to execute all observation requests. Only observations that can be executed during the 2020A semester (3 December 2019 - 31 May 2020) may be requested. TAC priority will be used to guide choices, all other things being equal. Time-critical and Rapid-response observations necessarily have higher priorities than other observations, thus the need for explicit justification.