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Semester 2005B Overview and Call for Proposals

Semester 2005B Overview
and Call for Proposals

Proposals are invited for observations in semester 2005B (1 August 2005 - 31 January 2006) with Gemini North and Gemini South. Here we give an overview of the capabilities offered and other proposal guidelines and restrictions.

Deep Impact mission: proposals for observations during 2-5 July in support of the Deep Impact mission should follow a separate procedure described here; they must not be submitted through the regular TAC process.

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 31 March - 1 April 2005 [US, UK, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil 31 March; Univ. Hawaii, Chile 1 April]. 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 2005B 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. One aspect of the proposal merging process modified in 2005B is that the frequency of partner entries in the merging sequence is now proportional to the advertised time available, better to take account of the various 'puts and takes' e.g. correction for aggregate imbalance in partner usage. 

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. 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 2005B ITAC (for rollover into 2006A). Programs with rollover status assigned in 2004A will have reached their maximum continuation and will be removed from the queue; those from 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: as in 2005A, all partners 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. [As of 9 March 2005 all backend servers are fully functional. Please contact your National Gemini Office directly in the event of any problems.]

Joint Proposals: if you submit the same proposal to several partner countries (a "joint proposal") you must do so using PIT. The PIT software, and backend servers installed at each National Office, 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.

Quick Response and Target of Opportunity programs: we continue to 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. Modifications to the observing tools have been made to enable very rapid response times (5-15 minutes). 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 again 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). See below for the specific dates. 

GMOS Mask Definition: work is underway to allow mask definition from non-GMOS images in 2006A at the latest. For the time being, MOS masks must be defined from GMOS images and sufficient pre-imaging time should be included in the proposal if the images do not exist already. For classical proposals, 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 the first month of the semester, to allow enough time between pre-imaging and the classical run. 

Australia/UK time transfer: for three semesters starting in 2005B, Australia has purchased 8 nights/semester from the UK on Gemini South

 

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.

GMOS (upper left), Michelle (lower left), Altair (upper right) and NIRI (lower right) mounted on Gemini North.

  • 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. 
    • Michelle - mid-IR spectrograph and imager (see Michelle pages). Michelle is offered in queue and classical modes for imaging and 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 recently-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. The specific dates available are one night around 12-16 August, two nights around 20-24 October and two nights around 7-11 December.

 

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 2005B, all modes of NIRI, Altair, GMOS and Michelle are offered in queue observing as well as classical observing modes. (Note that the latter has restrictions on visiting observers and a 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 allows 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 aim for a response time of no more than 18-24hr in the general case and have implemented a process with very rapid response (5-15 minutes) for approved projects. 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.

Time-specific (including periodic monitoring and follow-up) programs may be accepted on a best-efforts basis. Note that the instrument scheduling may impose 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 2005B the declination range is -40 to +80deg. No instrument changes will be allowed during classical nights. 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, NICI acceptance tests, Michelle polarimetry commissioning and laser guide star commissioning with NIRI and NIFS, in semester 2005B 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 47 nights (470 hours)
Univ. of Hawaii (host time) 10 nights (102 hours)
UK 34 nights (337 hours)
Canada 18 nights (183 hours)
Australia 6 nights (63 hours)
Argentina 3 nights (28 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.

GMOS (left), T-ReCS (lower) and GNIRS (right) mounted on Gemini South. (GCAL is at the top)

  • 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. It is possible that the GMOS South CCDs will replaced in mid-2005 to be available early in 2005B. Applicants should nevertheless assume the current performance figures apply.
    • 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 may be unavailable in August (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) so is now being offered only for 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 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. 
    • The Hokupa'a-85 adaptive optics system is NOT available. 

 

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

 

Gemini South: Operational Modes

For semester 2005B, 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). Phoenix is 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 allows 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 aim for a response time of no more than 18-24hr in the general case and have implemented a process with very rapid response (5-15 minutes) for approved projects. 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.

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 may impose 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 2005B the declination range is -90 to +33deg. No instrument changes will be allowed during classical nights. 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, as well as re-commissioning after the lens replacement in GNIRS and CCD replacement in GMOS South, in semester 2005B a minimum of 70% 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 51 nights (508 hours)
Chile (host time) 15 nights (148 hours)
UK 23 nights (232 hours)
Canada 19 nights (187 hours)
Australia 13 nights (134 hours)
Argentina 3 nights (28 hours)
Brazil 3 nights (27 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. Purchase of 8 nights from the UK by Australia is included. 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). 

 

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 March 19, 2005; Phil Puxley