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Policies for Competitive ToOs

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Effective November 20, 2017, the policies described below will regulate the activation of Target of Opportunity (ToO) programs, the priorities for their execution as well as the data access rights for the acquired data. The policies apply when multiple teams activate ToOs on the same target and on the same or subsequent nights.

Approval of ToO Triggers and DD Time

  1. To be activated, Queue ToOs must be scientifically aligned with the nature of the event for which the trigger is requested.  This is a general rule that applies to all ToO programs.
  2. DD proposals will not be accepted if they effectively duplicate, in their observational setup, an existing Queue ToO that has been activated to observe the same target. DD proposals that are accepted prior to the activation of an existing Queue ToO will be subject to the Prioritization and Data Sharing Policies discussed in II. and III. below.

Prioritization for ToO Triggers and DD Time

  1. In case of multiple Queue ToO triggers on the same target and night, the Gemini Observatory will attempt to work with the PIs to prioritize the observations so that the science is maximized. If no consensus can be reached among the PIs, or if no coordination is possible, the Gemini Observatory reserves the right to prioritize the observations according to the following criteria: 1) how well the scientific justification of the proposal aligns with the nature of the target;  2) the ITAC ranking of the proposals, if available; 3) the temporal order in which the triggers are activated; 4) additional considerations to maximize science, such as whether the Gemini observations are coordinated with data from other observatories (e.g. Chandra, HST, other ground facilities).
  2. As a rule, all DD programs will be given lower priority than Queue ToO programs. However, DD programs that are awarded to extend a Queue ToO program that has used all of its allocation during the course of an observing campaign will have higher priority than other DD programs. 

Policies on Data Access Rights for ToO and DD Programs 

The following policies only apply when multiple ToOs (rapid or standard) are triggered on the same target and, for objects that vary significantly on timescales shorter than 24 hours, on the same night. A distinction is made between ToOs approved as part of the regular Queue, and ToO approved using DD time.

  1. Data taken as part of Queue ToOs have a standard 12-month proprietary period. However, for exceptional events, when multiple ToOs (rapid or standard) are triggered on the same target, Queue ToO data taken for a given PI will be shared with PIs of other programs who also trigger on the same target and ask for the same instrumental configuration (i.e., the same instrument and observing mode). For targets whose properties are known or expected to change appreciably within the course of one night, the data sharing policy is reset each night. For all other targets, in exceptional circumstances, data sharing might be extended to include requests submitted in subsequent nights, at the discretion of the Observatory. For the purpose of time accounting, the total time spent observing the source will be divided equally amongst all teams receiving the data. 
  2. All data acquired as part of an approved Gemini DD program hold a standard proprietary period of 12 month. However, the Observatory reserves the right to remove the proprietary period in exceptional circumstances. This right can be exercised before, during or after the execution of the program. Circumstances that might require to reduce or remove the proprietary period of DD data include, but are not limited to, follow-up of rare astronomical phenomena. The PI will be notified of any changes to the proprietary period of DD data.

For DD requests to follow up on an embargoed target, DD data will be made public, at the discretion of the Observatory, only after the target is released to the community at large. Before that, however, DD data will be made accessible to all teams using Gemini to follow-up on the same object.

Gemini Observatory Participants