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Overview of the Fast Turnaround Program

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A call for FT proposals is issued each month with a deadline of the last day of that month at 11:59pm Hawaii Standard Time. Proposers use the Gemini Phase I Tool for their applications. During the first half of following month the proposal is reviewed and graded for scientific merit, as described below. Highly-ranked proposals are technically assessed by the FT Team. The PIs of successful proposals are notified by the 21st of that month and have 10 days to complete their Phase IIs (with assistance from the FT team as necessary).

Submitted proposals are scientifically reviewed and graded by the PIs and/or co-Is of other proposals submitted during that round. Thus, submission of a proposal commits the PI or a designated co-I to review other proposals (approximately 8) during that round. If the PI of the proposal is a student, a co-I (who has a PhD) must oversee the reviewing process. Failure to submit all reviews within two weeks will result in the PI’s own proposal being removed from consideration for that round. Reviewers should be aware that they will be requested to assess proposals in a wide range of scientific areas, and should make sure that their own proposals are accessible to people working on many different fields of astronomy.

Each review includes a numerical grade:

  • 4 - Excellent science - must observe.
  • 3 - Very good science - should observe.
  • 2 - Good science - observe if time is available.
  • 1 - Fair science - maybe observe if time is available.
  • 0 - Poor - do not observe.
  • Each review will also include a brief written assessment, according to the proposal assessment criteria. The goal is to have at least five reviewers for each proposal, whose identities are retained in a confidential database. The Fast Turnaround Team oversees the process and the final selection of accepted proposals, which consists of the highest-ranked programs that are technically feasible and fit in the available observing time. Time is only granted to proposals that achieve a mean grade of 2.0 or better. Because of the short timescales involved, proposals with technical problems will be rejected outright (but may be corrected and resubmitted during a subsequent cycle).

    Any submitted proposal must be executable in its entirety during the three months following the Phase II deadline, 1-4 months after the proposal deadline, or it will be rejected for that round, i.e., each target must be accessible for its specified observing time at some time during that 3-month period. In addition, it is required that the earliest targets be observable during the first month that the program is active (1-2 months after the proposal deadline).

    FT programs that are accepted and whose Phase2s are prepared in time become part of the regular queue, rather than being scheduled on separate FT nights. Accepted programs that are either not executed or only partly executed will be deactivated 4 months after the proposal deadline (3 months after the Phase II deadline).

    There are some restrictions on observing modes and instrument configurations, as well as on targets of opportunity. Specific restrictions will be given in each call for proposals. "Complex" or "non-standard" observing modes will not be supported in the early stages of the program; examples of such modes are given on the Q&A page. Prospective users are encouraged to contact the FT team (Fast.Turnaround at in advance if they are not sure whether their observing mode can be supported.

    To encourage rapid publication, the proprietary period on Fast Turnaround data is limited to 6 months. Note that this is much shorter than the 12 months allowed for data collected in other observing modes. Data can be obtained from the archive in the same way as for any other programs.

    The progress of the program will be regularly communicated to the public via observing reports and is regularly evaluated by the FT team and by the Gemini Board. Comments and suggestions by users or potential users of the program are welcome (send to Fast.Turnaround at