Applying for Observing Time

Click on the tabs below for information on applying for telescope time.

2019B Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) Call for Proposals

The main proposal deadline for the AAT in Semester 2019B (August 2019 - January 2020) is:

15 March, at 17:00
Australian Eastern Daylight Time (UTC + 11 hrs)

Proposals to the Australian Time Allocation Committee (ATAC) must follow the new ATAC Policies and Procedures and be submitted before the deadline using the Lens proposal form.

Applying for AAT Time through ATAC

Important information: AAT operations transferring to a consortium of Australian universities

Since 1 July 2018, AAT operations have been managed and funded through a consortium of Australian universities, led by the Australian National University (ANU). Operating procedures for AAT observations following the transition have changed little, with the exceptions that successful applicants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs to the observatory and will have more limited expert assistance on site.

Important information: Open Time and Paid Time on the AAT

Australian proposals may seek either Open Time or Paid Time on the AAT. A proposal is Australian if at least half of the proposers and the lead proposer are based at Australian institutions. Open Time is only available to Australian proposals. There is no charge to Australian astronomers for the use of Open Time. Paid Time is available to both Australian and non-Australian proposals. Non-Australian proposals can only access Paid Time, not Open Time. Inquiries regarding the terms and conditions for AAT Paid Time can be made to Astronomy Australia Limited (AAL).

The time allocation procedure starts with ATAC ranking all proposals by scientific merit, without regard to the Open Time or Paid Time status of the proposal. Paid Time proposals will be allocated to Paid Time in order of ATAC ranking (subject to practical constraints) until the available Paid Time is fully allocated. The remaining Australian proposals will then be allocated to Open Time in order of ATAC ranking (subject to practical constraints) until the available Open Time is fully allocated. Paid Time proposals always pay for time allocated.

More details are available in the ATAC Policies and Procedures document

Important information: proposal preparation

  • Time available for new proposals: accounting for existing Large Programs, Director’s time and instrument commissioning, there are expected to be 106 nights available for new proposals in Semester 19B (38 dark, 29 grey, 39 bright)
  • Due to the reduction in expert assistance at the telescope, proposers are required to describe the relevant experience and expertise of the team with the instrument(s) being applied for. Observers are encouraged to arrive sufficiently in advance of their run to gain such training as is needed for their run.
  • The current Large AAT Program, the DEVILS survey, has been allocated 19 dark or grey 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
  • To help address issues associated with unconscious bias (e.g. see study at this link) the format of the proposals has been changed: (1) PI information will not be provided to ATAC, (2) investigator information will be provided at the end of the proposal, (3) the list of investigators will be sorted alphabetically, and (4) investigators are required to use numerical citations for referencing. Lead investigators should avoid directly disclosing their identity in the science or technical justification sections. Feedback on these changes are welcome and should be sent to the AAT Technical Secretary.
  • Based upon historical weather trends, about 33% of time is lost to bad weather. Proposers are therefore required to multiply their time requirement by a factor of 1.5 to allow for time lost to weather. 

Important information: instrument availability and upgrades

  • Available AAT instruments include: 2dF+AAOmega, 2dF+HERMES and KOALA. Additionally, Veloce will be offered on a shared-risk basis.
  • In 2019B HERMES is expected to be offline for 2 months to undergo undergo interventions on the cryostats. During the first week after repairs, the instrument will be offered in a shared risk mode. For further details please contact the AAT Technical Secretary.
  • IRIS2 ans SAMI have been decommissioned.
  • Commissioning of Hector instrument will commence using Director’s Time.
  • Target of Opportunity mode is available with 2dF+AAOmega, 2dF+HERMES and KOALA. The Target of Opportunity policy is available at this link.
  • Additional instrumentation status information is available here.

Lens proposal submission system

All proposals should be submitted with the AAT's online application system Lens, which will open on the day this call is made. This system is a user account based system, which allows for improved security and better tracking of past and current proposals. There is a FAQ available for Lens online, or available via the FAQ tab in Lens itself.

All new users must register with the system.

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 lens@aao.gov.au.

Remote observing

Remote observing stations are available at ANU, ICRAR, Swinburne, UNSW and Australian Astronomical Optics (North Ryde). If you have not used the instrument that you are scheduled for in the last two years (either remotely or from site), then we require you to do the observations from site.

How to Apply for AAT Time 

Instrument status and policies

All ATAC applicants should check the ATAC Policies and Procedures, the latest Instrumentation Status for the AAT and recent Policy Announcements. Those seeking long term status should refer to the Long-term Programs page. For further clarification on any issue, please contact the ATAC Technical Secretary.

If at least half the proposers and the lead proposer are from European countries, they may apply for AAT time through the OPTICON program.

Proposal content

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). Proposers should demonstrate that their team has the skills and experience with the required observing modes to effectively conduct the proposed observations.

Proposals should be written so that the content and significance is understandable by astronomers with different backgrounds. 

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 scientific ranking cut-off, when some priority may be given.

After including overheads (detector readout, calibrations and telescope slewing), observers are required to multiply their time request by 1.5 to account for bad weather.

Any backup project must use the same instrument as the main project.

A list of the principal targets (field centres for 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. Numerical referencing should be used (e.g. “as shown by [1]…”, instead of “as shown by Smith et al. (2017)” ). Colour figures are accepted. Other document formats will not be accepted.

Submitting your proposal

When your proposal details are ready, submit your application to ATAC through Lens, the AAT's online proposal submission system. As noted above, this is a user-account-based system and all investigators on a proposal must be registered.

 Acknowledgements

 The AAT Consortium requests all publications based upon data obtained through the AAT include the following acknowledgement:

 Based [in part] on data obtained at Siding Spring Observatory [via program XXX]. We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which the AAT stands, the Gamilaraay people, and pay our respects to elders past and present.

AAO-CTIO time-swap arrangement

The AAO and NOAO/CTIO have a time-swap arrangement to allow our respective communities to maximise their scientific opportunities through access to a broader range of facilities. This semester, there will be 5 nights of CTIO (Blanco) time available to the Australian community.

Further details about the available nights and instruments can be found from NOAO's 2019B Call for Proposals released on 01-March-2019. Generally however, a uniform distribution of lunations will be available to the Australian community. Note too that DECam can 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 at their own expense.

How to Apply

Those who wish to apply for Blanco 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.

Contacting the ATAC Secretariat

Postal Address:

PO Box 2100

Hawthorn VIC 3122

Street Address:

Dept. Physics & Astronomy

Macquarie University

North Ryde NSW 2109

Phone: +61 (0)2 9850 6379 

E-mail: aat@astronomyaustralia.org.au

Web: http://www.astronomyaustralia.org.au/aat.html

 

Custom text: Link: view

There is no call for Large Observing Programs on the AAT starting 19B.

We anticiapte that there will be a call in semester 2020A

Existing large programs

 

CTIO Time Swap

2019B Blanco Telescope (CTIO) Call for Proposals

The proposal deadline for the Blanco Telescope in Semester 2019B (August 2019 - January 2020) is:

23 March, at 17:00

Australian Eastern Daylight Time (UTC + 11 hrs) 

 

The AAL and NOAO/CTIO are continuing a time-swap arrangement between the AAT and the 4m Blanco Telescope to allow our respective communities to maximise their scientific opportunities through access to a broader range of facilities. This semester, there will be 5 nights of CTIO time on the Blanco Telescope available to Australian community. 

Proposals will be assessed by the Australian Time Allocation Committee (ATAC), and as such they must follow the new ATAC Policies and Procedures and be submitted before the deadline using the Lens proposal form. Allgraded proposals will be provided to CTIO for scheduling.

The Blanco telescope offers two instruments, the wide-field imaging camera DECam and the CTIO Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (COSMOS). The purpose-built Dark Energy Camera (DECam) was used for the Dark Energy Survey that imaged nearly a billion galaxies over the past 6 years. Note that DECam can produce useful imaging in the reddest filters (izY) on all but the very brightest nights. The COSMOS instrument can be used in imaging, long-slit and multi-object spectroscopy modes. 

In 2019B, there will be approximately 70 nights available for allocation of new proposals by the NOAO and Australian TACs. This includes 18 dark time (defined as less than 7 days from new Moon). A total of 5 nights with a balanced distribution of lunations will be available to the Australian community. 

Further details about the available nights and instruments can be found from NOAO's 2019B Call for Proposals released on 01-March-2019.

 All scheduled observations will be carried out in classical mode, with observers required to travel to the telescope at their own expense. 

 

How to apply for Blanco time

All ATAC applicants should check the ATAC Policies and Procedures and recent Policy Announcements. For further clarification on any issue, please contact the ATAC Technical Secretary.

Those who wish to apply for Blanco time should do so using the Lens proposal system described below, selecting "CTIO 4m" from the telescopes menu on the first page of the proposal form.  

Lens proposal submission system

All proposals should be submitted with the AAT’s online application system Lens, which will open on the day this call is made. This system is a user account based system, which allows for improved security and better tracking of past and current proposals. There is a FAQ available for Lens online, or available via the FAQ tab in Lens itself.

All new users must register with the system.

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 lens@aao.gov.au.

 

Proposal content

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). Proposers should demonstrate that their team has the skills and experience with the required observing modes to effectively conduct the proposed observations.

Proposals should be written so that the content and significance is understandable by astronomers with different backgrounds. 

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 scientific ranking cut-off, when some priority may be given.

A list of the principal targets 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. Numerical referencing should be used (e.g. “as shown by [1]…”, instead of “as shown by Smith et al. (2017)” ). Colour figures are accepted. Other document formats will not be accepted.

Submitting your proposal

When your proposal details are ready, submit your application to ATAC through Lens, the AAT's online proposal submission system. As noted above, this is a user-account-based system and all investigators on a proposal must be registered.

Contacting the ATAC Secretariat

Postal Address:

PO Box 2100

Hawthorn VIC 3122

 

Street Address:

 

Dept. Physics & Astronomy

Macquarie University

North Ryde NSW 2109

 

Phone: +61 (0)2 9850 6379 

 

E-mail: aat@astronomyaustralia.org.au

Web: http://www.astronomyaustralia.org.au/aat.html

The OPTICON Transnational Access Program provides travel-related funding to AAT users from EU Member (and associated) countries. Under the current OPTICON Horizon 2020 agreement (2017-2020), AAT telescopes can carry up to 10 OPTICON nights per semester.

More information about OPTICON (including eligibility criteria) can be found on the website of the OPTICON office.

Separate OPTICON TAC proposal process

The OPTICON consortium operate a separate Time Allocation Committee, distinct from the AAT Time Allocation Committee, with an earlier submission deadline.

OPTICON-eligible programs should be submitted to the OPTICON TAC and not to the AAT TAC.

AAT OPTICON nights are top-sliced from AAT Paid Time.

Unsuccessful OPTICON proposals will no longer be considered for general AAT Open Time. Unsuccessful applicants may however request AAT Paid Time; paid time enquiries are welcome at Astronomy Australia Limited.