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Semester 2003A Overview and Call for Proposals

Semester 2003A Overview and Call for Proposals

Proposals are invited for observations in semester 2003A (1 February - 31 July 2003) with Gemini North and Gemini South. Here we give an overview of the capabilities offered and other proposal guidelines and restrictions.

Proposal Deadlines and Process

Applications should be submitted via your national Gemini proposal process. The submission deadline varies slightly from country to country, in the range 30 September - 21 October 2002 [US, UK, Canada & Australia 30 September; Univ. Hawaii 1 October; Brazil 4 October; Argentina 8 October; Chile 21 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.

For partner countries using the Phase I Tool, a new version of PIT is available. Please note that the definition of the image quality observing condition bands has been changed (principally, replacing 50%-ile with 70%-ile) to make queue execution less dependent on the underlying statistical distribution.

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 2003A 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.

If submitting a program that uses both telescopes, 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 you submit the same proposal to several partner countries with a different PI for each country (a "joint proposal"), be sure to identify the name of the lead PI in the technical justification section. The lead PI will be the person who will be receiving the Phase II information and be the sole contact person for the Gemini Observatory and for the National Gemini Offices once the program has been approved for observing time.

 

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 instrument calendar for a summary of availability and allowed RA ranges.

  • Facility instruments:
    • NIRI - near-IR imager and low-resolution spectrograph. NIRI is offered in queue observing mode and, for imaging modes only, in classical observing mode.
    • GMOS - optical imager, integral-field, long-slit and multi-object spectrograph. GMOS is offered in queue observing mode and, for imaging mode only, in classical observing mode. New in 2003A is the nod-and-shuffle observing mode for high-precision sky subtraction, offered on a shared-risks basis.
    • Michelle - mid-IR spectrograph and imager. Michelle is offered in its imaging mode for queue observing only (no spectroscopy) during the period June-July as it will be commissioned earlier in the semester. It is available on a shared-risks basis.

See the relevant science instruments web pages for more detailed capabilities. Integration time calculators for NIRI, GMOS and Michelle are available.

 

Gemini North: Operational Modes

For semester 2003A, NIRI, GMOS and Michelle are offered in queue observing mode. The imaging modes of NIRI and GMOS 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). 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. 

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).

Observations of non-sidereal objects will be permitted for all instruments.

Time-specific (including periodic monitoring) programs will 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.

For 2003A there is an minimum elevation limit for the telescope of 30 deg (i.e. declination range -40 to +80deg).

The following modes will not be offered in Semester 2003A on Gemini North: "quick response" observations, remote observing and eavesdropping. No instrument or observing mode changes during the night will be available. No other visitor instruments will be permitted.

 

Gemini North: Time Availability and Distribution

Due to the major instrument (Michelle and Altair) commissioning activities during this period, in semester 2003A about 55% 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 37 nights (373 hours)
Univ. of Hawaii (host time) 10 nights (100 hours)
UK 20 nights (197 hours)
Canada 12 nights (118 hours)
Australia 4 nights (39 hours)
Argentina 2 nights (20 hours)
Brazil 2 nights (20 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). Note that Chile's partner allocation on Gemini North is not included in anticipation of a new status of Chile within the partnership.

 

Gemini South: 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 instrument calendar for a summary of availability and allowed RA ranges.

  • Facility instruments:
    • 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 (future) facility imager (GMOS). Some preference may be given to Quick-Response programs; access will be broadened in 2003A to help develop that operational mode. Hence triggers for approved Quick-Response proposals will be accepted during all science and telescope engineering nights, as long as there is no immovable work scheduled (due to critical engineering, personnel travel constraints or other factors), aiming for a response time of no more than 18-24hr.
  • Visiting instruments:
    • Phoenix - high-resolution near-IR spectrograph (loaned by NOAO). Phoenix is offered in service observing mode only to be operated with support from the US National Gemini Office.
    • CIRPASS - near-infrared (J- and H-band) integral field unit spectrograph (loaned by University of Cambridge). CIRPASS is offered in service observing mode only to be operated with support from the instrument team. 

The facility instruments T-ReCS and GMOS-S will be in commissioning are not being offered. However, if delivery and characterisation of the instruments proceeds according to schedule, consideration may be given to attempting some imaging programmes from the Michelle or GMOS-N queues on Gemini South.

See the relevant science instruments web pages for more detailed capabilities. An integration time calculator for AcqCam is available as are calculators for the visiting instruments provided by the instrument teams. 

 

Gemini South: Operational Modes

For semester 2003A, the visiting instruments Phoenix and CIRPASS will be operated in a service mode (similar to the queue) with support from the US National Gemini Office and instrument teams. AcqCam is offered in queue observing mode only. 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. 

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).

"Quick Response" programs are encouraged for use with the Acquisition Camera (only). For 2003A such programs must be submitted through the normal proposal process even if the specific target(s) are not known at the time of writing (see further details of the process and activation mechanism).

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

Observations of non-sidereal objects will be permitted.

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).

For 2003A there is an minimum elevation limit for the telescope of 30deg (i.e. declination range -90 to +30deg).

The following modes will not be offered in Semester 2003A: remote observing and eavesdropping. 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 major instrument (T-ReCS and GMOS-S) commissioning activities and planned primary mirror coating during this period, in semester 2003A about 45% of the time will be made available for science use. This fraction includes payback to NOAO for the loan and continuing support of Phoenix (estimated at 9 nights). Payback owed to the University of Florida for the previous loan and support of OSCIR (estimated at 10 nights) has been carried over to T-ReCS and is expected to be allocated in 2003A, depending on the commissioning schedule. 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 25 nights (249 hours)
Chile (host time) 6 nights (62 hours)
UK 13 nights (131 hours)
Canada 7 nights (74 hours)
Australia 3 nights (27 hours)
Argentina 1 night (12 hours)
Brazil 1 night (12 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). Note that Chile's partner allocation on Gemini South is not included in anticipation of a new status of Chile within the partnership.

 

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 September 2, 2002; Phil Puxley