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Semester 2005A Overview and Call for Proposals

Semester 2005A Overview and Call for Proposals

Proposals are invited for observations in semester 2005A (1 February - 31 July 2005) with Gemini North and Gemini South. Here we give an overview of the capabilities offered and other proposal guidelines and restrictions; see also the summary of new capabilities, including new modes of GNIRS and Michelle, access to HIRES on Keck, a new procedure for Joint Proposals, classical-only observing with Phoenix and support for Deep Impact mission science. 

Proposal Deadlines and Process

Applications should be submitted via your national Gemini proposal process. The submission deadline varies very slightly from country to country, in the range 30 September - 1 October 2004 [US, UK, Canada, Australia, Argentina and Brazil 30 September; Univ. Hawaii and Chile 1 October]. Specific details and requirements of the proposal process in each partner country can be found by following the links to National Gemini Office pages in the Phase I overview.

The assessment and ranking of proposals within each partner country will be via National Time Allocation Committees (NTACs) supported by the National Gemini Offices. Assembly of the 2005A schedule and queue, definition of scientific ranking bands and resolution of conflicts by the ITAC will follow the procedures described in the Phase I overview and the proposal process schedule. All data will be subject to the normal Gemini proprietary data period of 18 months.

Some countries permit submitting a program that uses both telescopes; in such cases the capabilities and time requested on each telescope must be stated clearly in the proposal. This is required because the National Gemini Offices will transmit separate XML files for Gemini North and Gemini South to Gemini Observatory for scheduling. Proposals may include the use of multiple instruments and telescopes. If observations can be carried out with either GMOS (note that they have different capabilities) you must nevertheless specify one of them; the NTACs or ITAC may make changes.

Queue Rollover: the policy for rollover of highly-ranked queue programs will continue. Programs assigned by the ITAC into Band 1 are eligible for rollover into the next semester, for no more than two consecutive semesters, in order to increase the likelihood of program completion. Eligibility for rollover will be decided at the 2005A ITAC (for rollover into 2005B). Programs with rollover status in 2004A and 2004B will automatically be carried forward i.e. PIs need not re-apply if the currently approved allocation is sufficient to reach the science goals of the program. National policies that affect eligibility are defined by the relevant NTAC.

Electronic submission: all partners now support electronic submission of proposals from within the Gemini Phase I Tool (PIT). In the US, submission of non-joint proposals (see below) using the NOAO web form continues to be supported. A new version of PIT is available. 

Joint Proposals: if you submit the same proposal to several partner countries (a "joint proposal") you must do so using PIT. The PIT software has been modified, and backend servers installed at each National Office, to allow automatic ("one-click") submission of the same proposal to multiple partners. The partners have agreed a common format, length and submission deadlines for joint proposals. See the joint proposal instructions for more details.

Deep Impact mission: in support of the Deep Impact mission to intercept Comet Tempel 1, a window of three nights in July will be reserved on both Gemini telescopes. These will be the nights immediately before, during and after the night following spacecraft impact. Observations on these nights will be coordinated with other national and international observatories and access to them made available in a separate Call for Proposals to be released early in 2005. Programs in support of Deep Impact science outside of those specific dates are encouraged through the normal time allocation process.

Quick Response and Target of Opportunity programs: we encourage Quick Response programs, intended to allow observation of targets that cannot be specified in advance but which have a well-defined scientific aim and an external trigger, through the normal proposal process. Work is underway on enabling very rapid response times (15 minutes or less). Quick Response observations are available with both GMOSs, NIRI and GNIRS. The Director's Discretionary Time process supports observation of other (e.g. unexpected) events.

Time exchange (HIRES and Michelle): five nights are to be exchanged between Keck Observatory (for Gemini community use of HIRES, with newly-upgraded detector) and Gemini Observatory (for Keck community use of Michelle on Gemini North). 

Observing conditions modified: the following observing condition constraints have been modified, largely reflecting current operational practices. The changes are (a) sky background is now to be used only for optical wavelengths (GMOS-N and GMOS-S), (b) near-IR 1-2.5um sky background is assumed to be the same all night hence the near-IR sky background constraint should always be set to "any". The "twilight" condition has been removed; it may be re-instated if near-IR wavefront sensors are deployed; (c) mid-IR and near-IR 3-5um sky background is to be defined by the combination of cloud cover (including low and high sky-noise during clear conditions) and water vapour parameters. Hence the mid-IR sky background constraint should always be set to "any"; (d) the 20%-ile 10um image quality has been changed from 0.4 to 0.35 arcsec. The tables on the observing conditions page have been updated.

 

 

Gemini North: Instrument Availability

Instruments available in this semester are listed below. Note that there are restrictions on the scheduling and time available with certain instruments. Certain modes are offered on a shared-risks basis (see the definition of shared risks). Please see the target visibility tables for a summary of instrument availability and the allowed RA ranges.

  • Facility instruments:
    • NIRI - near-IR imager and low-resolution spectrograph (see NIRI pages). NIRI is offered in queue and classical observing modes for imaging and spectroscopy.
    • Altair - facility natural guide star AO system (see Altair pages). Altair is offered in queue and classical modes for use with NIRI for 1-2.5um and L-band (broad and narrow-band filter) imaging and 1-2.5um spectroscopy.
    • GMOS North - optical imager, integral-field, long-slit and multi-object spectrograph (see GMOS pages). GMOS North is offered in queue and classical observing modes for imaging and spectroscopy. All classical MOS programs must have GMOS pre-imaging; if this does not exist already it must be included in the time requested and the National TACs will add a separate pre-imaging program in the queue. In such cases, classical time for MOS will not be scheduled in February, the first month of 2005A, to allow enough time between pre-imaging and the classical run.
    • Michelle - mid-IR spectrograph and imager (see Michelle pages). Michelle is offered in queue and classical modes for imaging and in queue mode only for R=100-3000 and echelle spectroscopy at 10 and 20um. No polarimetry is available.
  • Other instruments:
    • HIRES - high resolution optical spectrograph on Keck. HIRES, with its newly-upgraded detector, is available in classical mode only. Applications for Gemini community use of HIRES should be made through the normal Gemini proposal process; be careful to specify the blue or red cross-disperser as these cannot be interchanged during the night. Further information about the instrument is available from the (Keck) HIRES web site. Gemini's normal 3-night minimum restriction for classical proposals does not apply. 

See the relevant science instruments web pages for more detailed capabilities. Integration time calculators for all instruments are available.

 

Gemini North: Operational Modes

For semester 2005A, NIRI, Altair, GMOS and Michelle are offered in queue observing mode. All available modes of GMOS, NIRI and Altair (both imaging and spectroscopy) and Michelle imaging are also offered in classical observing mode. (Note the restrictions on visiting observers and the 3-night minimum classical run length, outside of special arrangements within individual partner countries, described on the classical observing web page). In addition, certain queue programs may be selected by the Gemini Director after the ITAC for classical observation by visiting observers; please indicate in the technical justification section of your proposal if this would be of interest. 

Imaging and long-slit observations with GMOS North or NIRI may request "Quick Response" mode. This mode is intended to allow observation of targets that cannot be specified in advance but which have a well-defined scientific aim and an external trigger. Examples might include distant supernova or gamma ray bursts. We are aiming for a response time of no more than 18-24hr during scheduled instrument runs and are working on a process for very rapid response (15 minutes or less). Proposals for the Quick Response mode should be made via the normal proposal process and must summarise the trigger event (e.g. identification of a target brighter than a pre-determined threshold) in the proposal abstract. (See more details of the Quick Response process and activation mechanism).

The balance between instruments will be driven by scientific merit via the time allocation process. Any instrument must succeed in being awarded at least 160 hours (approx 16 nights) in order to be mounted on the telescope instrument support structure.

There is a minimum time (the sum of integration plus overheads) that can be requested for queue/service and classical observing (see the descriptions of the modes for details).

Time-specific (including periodic monitoring and follow-up) programs may be accepted on a best-efforts basis. Note that the instrument scheduling imposes additional restrictions on this class of programs.

All observations require the use of one wavefront sensor (WFS) star for fast guiding, primary mirror active optics control and/or as an adaptive optics wavefront reference source. The specific requirements for each instrument are given in the relevant science instrument web pages ("performance and use" section). As the technical feasibility of proposals relies in part on the availability of WFS stars, all proposals must include suitable WFS stars. Proposals concerned with non-sidereal objects should indicate the likely availability of WFS stars in the technical justification but are not required to supply specific stars.

Observations of non-sidereal objects will be permitted for all instruments provided that the peripheral WFS is used (i.e. GMOS and NIRI on-instrument WFS cannot be used).

For 2005A there is an minimum elevation limit for the telescope of 30 deg (i.e. declination range -40 to +80deg).

No instrument changes during the night will be available to classical observers. No other visitor instruments will be permitted.


Gemini North: Time Availability and Distribution

Due to the instrument activities during this period, principally commissioning of NIFS and NICI acceptance tests, as well as laser guide star installation and commissioning, in semester 2005A a minimum of 70% of the time will be made available for science use. This fraction includes "Compensatory Time" to the UK in return for the long-term transfer of Michelle to Gemini.

The time available to the partner countries also depends on the allocation to Gemini staff (see an overview of the staff process); a fraction of 10% was assumed for this table. Estimates of the time for each partner are listed below:

Partner Estimated Nights
(or Hours) Available
US 48 nights (483 hours)
Univ. of Hawaii (host time) 12 nights (122 hours)
UK 30 nights (304 hours)
Canada 16 nights (162 hours)
Australia 6 nights (63 hours)
Argentina 2 nights (24 hours)
Brazil 2 nights (25 hours)

To maintain overall balance amongst the partnership, these values have been adjusted from the nominal partner shares as a result of the historical usage of time. Michelle Compensatory Time is included. Weather and other losses are excluded from this table. The time available includes baseline calibrations on the sky which are assumed to be shared by all partners. The number of nights is obtained from int(hours/10). 


Gemini South: Instrument Availability

Instruments available in this semester are listed below. Certain modes are offered on a shared-risks basis (see the definition of shared risks). Please see the target visibility tables for a summary of instrument availability and the allowed RA ranges.

  • Facility instruments:
    • GMOS South - optical imager, integral-field, long-slit and multi-object spectrograph (see GMOS pages). GMOS South is offered in queue and classical observing modes for imaging and spectroscopy. All classical MOS programs must have GMOS pre-imaging; if this does not exist already it must be included in the time requested and the National TACs will add a separate pre-imaging program in the queue. In such cases, classical time for MOS will not be scheduled in February, the first month of 2005A, to allow enough time between pre-imaging and the classical run.
    • T-ReCS - mid-IR imager and spectrograph (see T-ReCS pages). T-ReCS is offered for imaging and spectroscopy (R=100 and R=1000) in queue and classical observing modes.
    • GNIRS - near-infrared long-slit and cross-dispersed spectrograph (see GNIRS pages). GNIRS is offered in queue and classical observing modes for R=2000, 6000 and 18000 long slit 1-5um spectroscopy, cross-dispersed R=2000 and R=6000 1-2.5um spectroscopy and with the integral field unit (IFU). GNIRS is only available until the end of April (see the allowed RA ranges) due to scheduled engineering work to fit new short-camera lenses. 
    • Whilst not a conventional facility instrument, the Acquisition Camera is offered for broadband (BVRI) optical imaging in queue-observing mode only. It's capabilities are limited compared with the facility imager (GMOS South) and is best suited to high repetition rate programs. As GMOS South is available for Quick Response programs, QR proposals will not be accepted for the Acquisition Camera. 
  • Visiting instruments:
    • Phoenix - high-resolution near-IR spectrograph (loaned by NOAO; see Phoenix pages). Phoenix is offered in classical observing mode only to be operated with support from the US National Gemini Office. (Queue programs in Band 1 with rollover status from 2004A and 2004B will be continued). For Phoenix only, Gemini's normal 3-night minimum restriction for classical proposals does not apply however applications must be for whole nights. 

Hokupa'a-85 - adaptive optics system (loaned by University of Hawaii)  with the Abu - near-IR camera (loaned by NOAO) are NOT available. It is anticipated that a separate Call for Proposals for a Demonstration Science program will be released early in 2005 following successful demonstration of on-telescope performance.

See the relevant science instruments web pages for more detailed capabilities. Integration time calculators for GMOS South, T-ReCS, GNIRS and AcqCam are available as is a Phoenix calculator provided by the instrument team. 

 

Gemini South: Operational Modes

For semester 2005A, GMOS, T-ReCS, GNIRS and AcqCam are offered in queue observing mode. All available modes of GMOS, T-ReCS and GNIRS are also offered in classical observing mode. (Note the restrictions on visiting observers and the 3-night minimum classical run length, outside of special arrangements within individual partner countries, described on the classical observing web page). From 2005A, Phoenix will no longer be available in service mode and will be operated classically, with support from the US National Gemini Office. In addition, certain programs may be selected by the Gemini Director after the ITAC for classical observation by visiting observers; please indicate in the technical justification section of your proposal if this would be of interest. 

Imaging and long-slit observations with GMOS South and spectroscopy with GNIRS may request "Quick Response" mode. This mode is intended to allow observation of targets that cannot be specified in advance but which have a well-defined scientific aim and an external trigger. Examples might include distant supernova or gamma ray bursts. We are aiming for a response time of no more than 18-24hr during scheduled instrument runs and are working on a process for very rapid response (15 minutes or less). Proposals for the Quick Response mode should be made via the normal proposal process and must summarise the trigger event (e.g. identification of a target brighter than a pre-determined threshold) in the proposal abstract. (See more details of the Quick Response process and activation mechanism).

The balance between instruments will be driven by scientific merit via the time allocation process. Any instrument must succeed in being awarded at least 160 hours (approx 16 nights) in order to be mounted on the telescope instrument support structure.

There is a minimum time (the sum of integration plus overheads) that can be requested for queue/service observing (see the descriptions of the modes for details).

Time-specific (including periodic monitoring and follow-up) programs with other instruments may be accepted on a best-efforts basis. Note that the instrument scheduling imposes additional restrictions on this class of programs.

All observations require the use of one wavefront sensor (WFS) star for fast guiding, primary mirror active optics control and/or as an adaptive optics wavefront reference source. The specific requirements for each instrument are given in the relevant science instrument web pages ("performance and use" section). As the technical feasibility of proposals relies in part on the availability of WFS stars, they must include suitable WFS stars. Proposals concerned with non-sidereal objects should indicate the likely availability of WFS stars in the technical justification. WFS stars are not required for quick-response proposals (but will be required to execute the observations).

Observations of non-sidereal objects will be permitted for all instruments provided that the peripheral WFS is used (i.e. GMOS and GNIRS on-instrument WFS cannot be used).

For 2005A there is an minimum elevation limit for the telescope of 27deg (i.e. declination range -90 to +33deg).

No instrument or observing mode changes during the night will be available. No other visitor instruments will be permitted.


Gemini South: Time Availability and Distribution

Due to the instrument commissioning activities during this period, principally bHROS and NICI, in semester 2005A a minimum of 78% of the time will be made available for science use. 

The time available to the partner countries also depends on the allocation to Gemini staff (see an overview of the staff process); a fraction of 10% was assumed for this table. Estimates of the time for each partner are listed below:

Partner Estimated Nights
(or Hours) Available
US 54 nights (542 hours)
Chile (host time) 14 nights (141 hours)
UK 29 nights (295 hours)
Canada 17 nights (175 hours)
Australia 6 nights (57 hours)
Argentina 3 nights (27 hours)
Brazil 3 nights (28 hours)

To maintain overall balance amongst the partnership, these values have been adjusted from the nominal partner shares as a result of the historical usage of time. Weather and other losses and visiting instrument payback are excluded from this table. The time available includes baseline calibrations on the sky which are assumed to be shared by all partners. The number of nights is obtained from int(hours/10). 

It is anticipated that 100hr will be used for a Demonstration Science program following successful commissioning of the Hokupa'a 85 Adaptive Optics system (50hr taken from the estimated availability shown above and 50hr of Director's Discretionary Time). A separate announcement will be made for this program. In addition, 50 hours of the US time is reserved for transfer of the approved 2004B Hokupa'a science program into 2005A. 

 

Questions and Answers

All questions concerning proposals, or any other subject, should be made using the Gemini HelpDesk. This web-based system will send the request to your National Gemini Office staff in the first instance who will then escalate it to Gemini staff if necessary.



Last update August 31, 2004; Phil Puxley