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Semester 2011A Call For Proposals

Gemini Observatory invites its community to propose scientific investigations for the 2011A semester, 1 February 2011 - 31 July 2011. The Call is open to all partners.

The submission deadline is THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 30 2010. Applications should be submitted via your national Gemini proposal process. Submission times and other details vary by partner; please consult your National Gemini Office pages for more information. Multi-partner joint proposals should be submitted by the deadline of the partner country to which the Principal Investigator is affiliated.

The purpose of this page is to highlight the most relevant information for the 2011A call. Significant additional information is contained on supporting pages; users are encouraged to follow the links for more detailed information. If hardcopy is preferred, the primary pages are available as a single pdf document.


GNIRS System Verification Call for Proposals Announced, October 4 2010

Gemini is now accepting proposals for system verification of GNIRS. This Call is separate from, and in addition to, the normal Call for Proposals for Semester 2011A. Twelve nights are available for the GNIRS SV, nominally eight in Semester 2010B and four in 2011A. Proposal submissions are due no later than MIDNIGHT, OCTOBER 25, 2010, Hawaii time. All observing modes are available, however certain modes need verification more than others. Guidelines are given in the SV Call.

IMPORTANT CHANGE IN GMOS-NORTH CAPABILITIES, SEPTEMBER 15 2010

The schedule for the upgrade of GMOS-North to use the new Hamamatsu detectors has become uncertain due to recently discovered technical problems. Contrary to the initial instructions for 11A, all applicants should assume the performance of the current E2V detectors when calculating exposure times.


Highlights for 2011A


General
Relevant milestones for 2011A can be found in the 2011A schedule. The deadline for Phase I submission is September 30 2010 (Poor weather and Director's Discretionary Time proposals are accepted at any time via the Phase I Tool), and for successful proposals the Phase II submission deadline is January 14 2011. Both queue and classical Phase IIs must be submitted by this deadline.
Target accessibility limits will be imposed, so as not to bias the queue at the start or end of the semester. The target accessibility limits for 2011A are, for Gemini North 4.0 < RA < 1.0 and -37 < dec < +79, and for Gemini South 5.0 < RA < 2.0 and -89 < dec < +28. There are additional constraints if a program requires unrestricted access (e.g. MOS observations requiring pre-imaging, long observations or observations with strict constraints), for LGS programs and for NIRI imaging programs at Gemini North.
The community should note that the Observatory requires proposals which use the full range of observing conditions. This includes proposals that can use cloudy CC90 conditions, which implies a loss of signal of between 30% (CC70) and a factor of 6.
New guidelines for Target of Opportunity (ToO) programs have been issued for 2011A by the Gemini Operations Working Group. Applicants are encouraged to read these prior to submitting a ToO proposal.
The Phase I Tool (PIT) is updated for 2011A; See the PIT page for downloads and important information.
Gemini North
It is expected that 88% of the semester will be available for science. This amounts to 159 nights and includes 4 nights for GNIRS Science Verification (GNIRS is also offered for the entire semester) and 1.5 nights for GMOS-N CCD demonstration science. These nights are distributed across the partnership. A list of instruments and capabilities is given below.
The schedule for the upgrade of GMOS-N to use the new Hamamatsu red-sensitive CCDs has become uncertain due to recently discovered technical problems. Prospective users should assume the performance of the current E2V detectors when calculating exposure times. (Revised September 15 2010.)
GNIRS is offered for 1-5 micron spectroscopy in 2011A, in all natural seeing and NGS adaptive optics modes. Laser guide star adaptive optics has not been commissioned with GNIRS and this mode is not offered at this time. Angular FWHM (along the spectrograph slit) may be limited to 0.20 arcsec (adaptive optics), 0.45 arcsec (JHK natural seeing), and 0.35 arcsec (LM natural seeing); see the GNIRS status page for more information. Commissioning is on-going and we encourage prospective users to read the instrument web pages carefully before submitting a proposal.
Michelle will most likely only be available for two short periods at the start and end of the semester, depending on demand.
NIRI will be unavailable in June and July while it undergoes repair and refurbishment, and it is not available for spectroscopy throughout Semester 2011A. NIRI imaging programs need to be limited to targets with 4 < RA < 20 and -37 < dec < +79.
Gemini South
It is expected that 78% of the time will be available for science use on Gemini South in 2011A. This amounts to 141 nights, and includes 18 nights of NICI campaign science which are distributed across the partners that participate in the campaign. The final distribution of nights across the partnership is shown on the time distribution page. A list of instruments and capabilities is given below. Given the available instrument suite, bright-time programs with relaxed observing condition constraints (e.g., SBAny, CC70, IQ85) are particularly encouraged.
It is possible that access will need to be restricted for NICI and/or T-ReCS once the GSAOI and Flamingos-2 commissioning schedule is known and the demand is determined at the International Time Allocation Committee meeting.
For Semester 2011A NICI observations may be proposed for conditions as poor as IQ70 and CC70. However, due to the greater risks involved and poorer performance delivered when observing in CC70, the following restrictions will be imposed for CC70 proposals:
  • sensitivity and contrast requirements must be modest, for example deep searches for planetary-mass objects will not be accepted in CC70 conditions;
  • guide stars (AO and PWFS2) must be bright enough to handle cloudy conditions;
  • observations will not be made when there is thick patchy cloud (operators will be trained for safe operation of the instrument).
CC70 NICI proposals will be assessed by the instrument team before time is awarded and successful programs will be on a shared-risk basis.
Phoenix is not offered in Semester 2011A; effort will be made to complete all rollover programs before the instrument is removed.
Exchange
Up to 5 bright/gray nights of classical time are available with the HIRES optical spectrograph on Keck. The requested nights must be within the following windows with a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 2 nights in any one window: February 10 - 23, April 10 - 22 and June 8 - 22. Proposals should be submitted via the normal Gemini process. All proposers for Keck time must also complete the Keck cover page. Email this page to your NTAC chair. [more information]
5 to 10 classical nights are available on Subaru with COMICS (mid-infrared camera and spectrograph), FMOS a limited number of nights on a shared-risk basis for the low-resolution mode only (near-infrared fiber-fed multi-object spectrograph), FOCAS (optical faint object camera and spectrograph), HDS (optical high dispersion spectrograph), IRCS (infrared camera and spectrograph, with Natural Guide Star Adaptive Optics capability), MOIRCS (near-infrared imager and multi-object spectrograph) and Suprime-Cam (wide field optical imager). The Subaru nights will be distributed across bright, grey and dark periods with typically 2 or 3 nights in each of these moon phases, depending on the total number of nights allocated. A minimum of 1 and a maximum of 4 nights can be requested in the following windows only:
bright - April 12-21, May 12-21, June 10-20, July 9-19;
grey - April 7-11, May 7-10, June 5-8, July 4-8;
dark - Feb 28 to March 7, or March 30 to April 5.
The final schedule is dependent on allocation and instrument availability.
Proposals should be submitted via the normal Gemini process. [more information]

Additional Information

Details of the capabilities available at each Gemini telescope are given below. Please see the page of supporting information for additional general information.


Gemini North: Facilities

  • All instruments are offered in queue and classical mode, except for Laser Guide Star AO which is queue mode only.
  • Facility instruments:
    • GMOS North - 0.36-0.95 micron imager and spectrograph: imaging and long-slit, multi-object and integral field spectroscopy. 5σ one hour point source sensitivities are approximately R=26 for imaging and R=21-23 for spectroscopy (applicants should refer to the instrument web pages for updated sensitivities as the detector upgrade is on-going).
    • GNIRS - 1-5 micron spectrograph: fed with the direct or AO-corrected beam. 5σ one hour point source sensitivities are approximately K=18.5 to K=16.8 depending on the resolution used (applicants should refer to the instrument web pages for updated sensitivities as the instrument commissioning is on-going).
    • NIRI - 1-5 micron imager: imaging fed with the direct or AO-corrected beam. 5σ one hour point source sensitivities are approximately K=23 for imaging. NIRI is not offered for spectroscopy in 2011A.
    • NIFS - 0.95-2.40 micron integral field unit spectrograph: IFU spectroscopy fed with the direct or AO-corrected beam. 5σ one hour point source sensitivities are approximately K=18.7.
    • Altair - facility AO system: for use with NIRI (except M band imaging and L & M band spectroscopy) and NIFS.
      • Natural Guide Star AO: Traditional adaptive optics guiding on a nearby star.
      • See the Laser Guide Star AO web pages for important performance information and restrictions. Note that LGS observations must specify "Laser guide star" in the AO resources section in the PIT, and must request Cloud Cover = 50% and Image Quality = 70%. Faint tip tilt stars will also require darker skies: 17.5 < R < 18 needs SB=80%, 18 < R < 18.5 needs SB=50%.
    • Michelle - 7-26 micron spectrograph and imager: imaging and R=100-3000 and echelle spectroscopy; imaging polarimetry is also available. 5σ one hour point source sensitivities are approximately N=11 for imaging and N=6-9 for spectroscopy.
  • See the target accessibility page for important information regarding instrument availability and a plot of accessible RA and Declination. For Semester 2011A targets must be limited to 4.0 < RA < 1.0, and -37 < dec < +79, the LGS system has a stricter elevation constraint of >40 degrees, and NIRI imaging programs need to be limited to targets with 4 < RA < 20 and -37 < dec < +79 .

  • Gemini South: Facilities

    • All instruments are offered in queue and classical mode.
    • Facility instruments:
      • GMOS South - 0.36-0.95 micron imager and spectrograph: imaging and long-slit, multi-object and integral field spectroscopy. 5σ one hour point source sensitivities are approximately R=26 for imaging and R=21-23 for spectroscopy.
      • NICI - 1-5 micron dual-channel coronagraphic imager: In 2011A NICI is offered for community use for both coronagraphic and non-coronagraphic imaging. The L band is available on a shared risk basis. AO guiding on extended targets (up to 0.8") is available on a shared risk basis. For coronagraphic imaging the occulted target should also be the AO guide target. The Campaign Targets are not available for community NICI observations. Constraints must be at least as good as Cloud Cover = 70% and Image Quality = 70%. CC70 programs need to have brighter guide stars and less demanding sensitivity requirements.
      • T-ReCS - 8-26 micron imager and spectrograph: imaging and moderate resolution (R=100 and R=1000) spectroscopy. 5σ one hour point source sensitivities are approximately N=11 for imaging and N=8 for spectroscopy .
    • See the target accessibility page for important information regarding instrument availability and a plot of accessible RA and Declination. For Semester 2011A targets must be limited to 5.0 < RA < 2.0, and -89 < dec < +28.

    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.

    Comments and suggestions on the format and content of this page and supporting pages are welcome, and should be sent to Sandy Leggett.