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Large and Long Programs - Frequently Asked Questions

1. What instruments are available for LPs?

Any currently commissioned instruments are available for LPs.  In the South, this includes, GMOS-S, Flamingos-2 (imaging and long-slit spectroscopy), and GSAOI.  GPI and Flamingos-2 MOS mode are not available.  In the North, this includes GMOS-N, NIRI, and NIFS. Adaptive optics systems may be used (though be aware that laser operation is limited at both sites).  Further updated information about instrument availability and scheduling will be released with the normal 2014B Call for Proposals.

2. Are visitor instruments available for LPs?

Any instrument previously commissioned as a visiting instrument may be considered for a LP.  However, any LP proposal to use a visitor instrument must have a commitment from the PI of the visitor instrument that the instrument will be available for use on Gemini during the lifetime of the LP execution.

3. The last item of the proposal evaluation criteria contains “the extent to which the observations can be accommodated within routine Gemini operations.”  What are the limits on LP proposals to not be negatively evaluated? 

An individual LP need not request a balanced program across North/South, RA range, observing conditions, etc. However, the ensemble of approved LPs must not overly impinge on other observing programs. Therefore, the ensemble of approved LPs should not exceed 25% of any relevant parameter, such as hemisphere, RA range, and observing condition bins. See for further information on observing condition constraints.  

For example, the best image quality, IQ20, in photometric conditions, CC50, only occurs approximately 10% of the time.  For the total time available on Gemini South in 2014A, one would expect these conditions to occur for only ~100 hours during the semester.   

4. What is the proprietary period for data obtained in a LP?

Data obtained as part of an LP shall have the standard proprietary period, 18 months from the date of an individual observation, although PIs are encouraged to consider a shorter proprietary period, or waiving it altogether.

5. How much time is available for these programs?

Up to 20% of the total time allocation from participating partners is available for LPs.  Note that the maximum allocation from the US may be initially less than 20% of the calculated US time, given existing obligations to long-term programs.    The expected allocation will be released as part of the regular 2014B Call for Proposals.

The time available for 2014A can be used for an estimate on the upper limit available. The total time available to participating partners in 2014A is 1332 hours in the North, and 1103 hours in the South.  This would correspond to LP allocations of 266 and 220 hours or less.  The exact time available will depend on instrument commissioning, engineering, campaign science, etc.  

6. Will only one LP be approved each year?

There is no set limit on the number of LPs that may be approved each year. Our expectation is that multiple programs will be approved, provided they are scientifically compelling.

7. Why is there a restriction on LP PIs, leaving out astronomers from Brazil and Chile?

Brazil and Chile elected not to participate in these Gemini LPs at this time, a decision confirmed at the Board level. 

8. Does a proposal need to have “added value” beyond the science results to be successful? 

No, a successful proposal does not need to have added value beyond the scientific results.  This is merely one of the criteria by which all proposals will be judged (See Section 2.3).  A statement on added value, even if only to acknowledge there is none, is required by all proposals. 

9. Will LPs be subject to review by the National TAC of the PI?

No. LP proposals will only be reviewed by the LPTAC. However, there may be overlap between a partner's National TAC and their representation on the LPTAC.

10. Who will select the members of the LPTAC?

The LPTAC will have 10 'partner' members, six from the US, two from Canada, and one each from Australia and Argentina.  These members are nominated by the corresponding designated Gemini Board members, or their delegates, and approved by the Gemini Director. Additional members may be appointed by the Observatory in order to balance the scientific expertise in the committee.  Any qualified, unconflicted scientist may serve in these 'at-large' positions; they do not need to come from the Gemini partnership or participating LP partners.

11. What is the purpose of "considerations if allocated in band 2" requirement in the proposal narrative?

All awarded LPs will be given allocations in either band 1 or 2.  The expected completion rates are different in each band and PIs may wish to consider this impact upon a band 2 allocation.  Possible considerations are a relaxing of the observing constraints and potential corresponding increase in allocation request, greater flexibility on targets and/or instrument configurations, or other consideration that would give greater flexibility in scheduling the science observations.  

12. Are their supporting funds available from Gemini Observatory for successful LPs?

No.  Gemini will not offer supporting funds for LPs.

13. What CCDs can I assume are available in GMOS?

The new Hamamatsu CCDs with improved red response are expected to be available in GMOS-South from the start of large programs in 2014B. The 2014B call for proposals will confirm their availability. The upgrade to GMOS-North will happen later. For proposals, you can assume that GMOS-North can be used with the existing (improved) e2v detectors now, and will be upgraded from 2015B. Because the timing of the GMOS-North upgrade is uncertain, your proposal should address feasibility with the current detectors or contingency plans if the upgrade is further delayed.

14.Is the Target of Opportunity (ToO) observing mode available for LPs?

Yes, PIs are welcome to propose LPs using the ToO observing mode. The guidelines for ToO observations at Gemini Observatory will generally apply to LPs using this mode.  See Question 16 for more information about submitting for ToO observing mode. 

15. Can I change the co-I list from the original I submitted on my letter of intent?

Yes, you may adjust the co-I list. You do not need to inform Gemini of the change, just provide the complete and correct list with the final proposal submission.

16. Can I submit a mix of Standard and Rapid ToO observations in the same LP proposal?

Yes. If your proposal contains any Rapid ToO observations, submit your proposal as a Rapid ToO proposal, even if it also contains Standard ToO observations. If your proposal only contains Standard ToO observations, submit your proposal as a Standard ToO proposal. If different conditions are required for the Rapid and Standard ToO observations, they must all be specified using different observations using the appropriate observing constraints. Investigators should be clear in the proposals about the total time requested in Rapid and/or Standard ToO observing modes.