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Semester 2004A Overview and Call for Proposals

Semester 2004A Overview and Call for Proposals

Proposals are invited for observations in semester 2004A (1 February - 31 July 2004) with Gemini North and Gemini South. Here we give an overview of the capabilities offered and other proposal guidelines and restrictions (see a summary of the new capabilities, including a significant increase in the fraction of science time). 

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 29 September - 6 October 2003 [Canada 29 Sept., Brazil, US, UK & Australia 30 Sept.; Univ. Hawaii 1 October; Chile 6 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.

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 2004A 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.

New in 2004A, queue programs assigned by the ITAC into Band 1 will be 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 2004A ITAC (for rollover into 2004B); national policies will be defined by the relevant NTAC.

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 and telescopes. 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.

Joint proposals: if you submit the same proposal to several partner countries with the same or a different PI for each country (a "joint proposal"), be sure to identify the name of the Principal Contact in the list of applicants. The Principal Contact need not be the same as the proposal PI but each joint proposal must have one, and only one, Principal Contact. The Principal Contact 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 should the program be approved for observing time. (See the joint proposal instructions for more details; a new checkbox in PIT is used to denote the Principal Contact).

 

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 and classical observing modes for imaging and queue only for spectroscopy.
    • Altair - facility natural guide star AO system. Altair is offered in queue mode only for use with NIRI, for 1-2.5um (broad and narrow-band filter) imaging
    • GMOS North - optical imager, integral-field, long-slit and multi-object spectrograph. GMOS North is offered in queue and classical observing modes for imaging and spectroscopy. (Pre-imaging for classical MOS programs will be taken in queue mode).

Michelle (mid-IR spectrograph and imager) is not being offered as it will be used in semester 04A on UKIRT.

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

 

Gemini North: Operational Modes

For semester 2004A, NIRI, Altair and GMOS are offered in queue observing mode. All available modes of GMOS and NIRI imaging 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). 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. 

New in 2004A, imaging and long-slit observations with GMOS North may request "Quick Response" mode. This mode is intended to allow 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 are aiming for a response time of no more than 18-24hr during scheduled GMOS runs. 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.

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).

Time-specific (including periodic monitoring and follow-up) programs may 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.

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 2004A there is an minimum elevation limit for the telescope of 30 deg (i.e. declination range -40 to +80deg).

No instrument changes during the night will be available to classical observers. No other visitor instruments will be permitted.


Gemini North: Time Availability and Distribution

Due to the instrument commissioning activities during this period, principally for modes of Altair, in semester 2004A about 80% 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 58 nights (583 hours)
Univ. of Hawaii (host time) 14 nights (144 hours)
UK 29 nights (292 hours)
Canada 18 nights (184 hours)
Australia 8 nights (76 hours)
Brazil 3 nights (31 hours)

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. 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:
    • GMOS South - optical imager, integral-field, long-slit and multi-object spectrograph. GMOS South is offered in queue and classical observing modes for imaging and spectroscopy. (Pre-imaging for classical MOS programs will be taken in queue mode). The IFU is available on a shared-risks basis after 1 April.
    • T-ReCS - mid-IR imager and spectrograph. T-ReCS is offered for imaging and spectroscopy (R=100 and R=1000) in queue observing mode only. T-ReCS is available on a shared-risks basis. 
    • 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) and is best suited to 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). Phoenix is offered in service observing mode only to be operated with support from the US National Gemini Office.

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

 

Gemini South: Operational Modes

For semester 2004A, GMOS, T-ReCS and AcqCam are offered in queue observing mode. All available modes of 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, described on the classical observing web page). As a visiting instrument, Phoenix will be operated in a service mode (similar to the queue) 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. 

New in 2004A, imaging and long-slit observations with GMOS South may request "Quick Response" mode. This mode is intended to allow 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 are aiming for a response time of no more than 18-24hr during scheduled GMOS runs. 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.

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).

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 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, 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 on-instrument WFS cannot be used).

For 2004A there is an minimum elevation limit for the telescope of 27deg (i.e. declination range -90 to +33deg).

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 instrument commissioning activities during this period, principally GNIRS, in semester 2004A about 70% 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 4 nights) and payback owed to the University of Florida for the previous loan and support of OSCIR (estimated at 3 nights), carried over to T-ReCS. 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 49 nights (490 hours)
Chile (host time) 12 nights (120 hours)
UK 26 nights (257 hours)
Canada 15 nights (150 hours)
Australia 5 nights (52 hours)
Brazil 3 nights (25 hours)

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 August 29, 2003; Phil Puxley