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Phase I Tool (PIT)

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The Gemini Phase I Tool (PIT) must be used for proposal preparation and submission.

Each Gemini participating country runs its own Phase I proposal process. Backend servers for each Participant's National Offices allow automatic electronic submission to multiple Participants at the same time. In the few cases when proposal are not generated by the PIT, those must be converted into a specifically structured XML (eXtensible Markup Language) file for transmission from the National TACs to Gemini Observatory in order for the files to be ingested into the Gemini observing database.

The PIT is a Java program that must be loaded onto a local computer (it is not a webform). Best performance is achieved by installing the PIT on individual machines although some institutions may prefer a site installation if they have adequate network resources.

The rest of this page presents:

Assistance with its use can be found at the PIT Help pages.

You can also access a description of all of the PIT's components, and their function.


Download the PIT

caution The PIT is updated every semester to accommodate new instruments and observing modes. We recommended reading the brief summary of new policies, features, and improvements described in the PIT Release Notes. Here is a summary of the PIT versions to use when submitting different types of proposals:

Mode Status PIT Version
Fast Turnaround Open* 2020B.2.1.2
Queue Closed
Large and Long Closed
Director's Discretionary Time Open* 2020B.2.1.2
Poor Weather Open* 2020B.2.1.2

*For Gemini North only


Installing the Phase I Tool

On February 28, 2020 a new version of the PIT was released to support the 2020B call for proposals.

You can install the software on individual machines or for an entire network of workstations. Follow the instructions for:

  • macOS (Intel Macs only with 10.8.3 (Mountain Lion) or newer)
  • Linux (most distributions, including RHEL, CentOS, Fedora, and Ubuntu)
  • Windows (Vista / 7 / 8 / 10)

If you experience any problems installing or running the PIT, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for the latest information.

Please read the description of new features on the PIT Release Notes page.


Using the Gemini Phase I Tool on macOS

Starting with semester 2017A the PIT is distributed with the required version of Java 1.8 (Java 8).  The system requirements of Java 8 allow it to run on macOS 10.8.3 (Mountain Lion) or later.

Installing on Macintosh macOS

  • Download the appropriate macOS distribution of the Phase I Tool (see Download the PIT) from the Gemini software site (follow the link to browse the directory and right or shift+click the file named pit__macos.dmg).
  • Use the Finder to display the directory in which you downloaded the disk image. You must have at least 270 megabytes of disk space available to install the Phase I Tool on Mac OS X.
  • Double-click on the disk image (dmg) file to open and mount it. Then drag the new Gemini PIT application icon to the location where you want to install it (normally the Applications folder). You can now unmount the disk image from the Finder.
  • Double-click on the application icon to run the Phase I Tool.

On macOS 10.15 (Catalina) you will need to give the application permission to run the first time that you use it. You can either:

  • Ctrl-click the application icon, select Open and then click Open in the subsequent dialog
  • Double-click the app icon, then click Ok in the subsequent dialog. Then open System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> General and click on Open Anyway. Finally, click Open in the next dialog.

We are working on having the PIT application signed by Apple so that this will no longer be required.


Using the Gemini Phase I Tool on Linux

The Phase I Tool can be used on most recent Linux distributions, including RedHat Enterprise, CentOS, Fedora, and Ubuntu. (Note that you cannot use the twm window manager).

Installing on Linux

  • Download the appropriate Linux distribution of the Phase I Tool (see Download the PIT) from the Gemini software site (follow the link to browse the ftp directory and right or shift+click the file named pit__linux32.tar.gz (32-bit) or pit__linux64.tar.gz (64-bit)).
  • Use gunzip and tar to unpack the distribution in a directory where you have at least 200 megabytes of disk space. gunzip -c filename | tar -xvf -
  • The distribution unpacks into a single directory named "pit__linux32" or "pit__linux64".
  • Run the PIT. You can use the complete path to the startup script, as shown below (where the $ represents your shell prompt), or you can include that directory in your PATH. ${where_you_untarred}/pit_*version*_linux{32/64}/pit_*version*


Using the Gemini Phase I Tool on Windows

The Phase I Tool has been tested on Windows 7 and 10. We have not had reports of problems on Windows 8. You may encounter a font display problem in Windows 10 due to an issue with Windows/java font scaling. This does not affect functionality. A workaround is to change the scaling of text and apps to between 100% and 175%, depending on screen resolution.

Installing on Windows

  • Download the appropriate Windows distribution of the Phase I Tool (see Download the PIT) from the Gemini software site (follow the link to browse the directory and right or shift+click the file named pit__windows.exe).
  • Use Windows Explorer to display the directory in which you downloaded the installer. You must have at least 180 megabytes of disk space available to install the Phase I Tool on Windows.
  • Double-click the installer executable and follow the installer instructions. When the installation is completed, you will see a congratulatory message. Press the "Done" button to exit.
  • The installation places a "Gemini/Gemini PIT" folder in your start menu. Selecting the new Gemini PIT from this menu launches the Phase I Tool. 

Release Notes

2020 May 14

The 2020A.1.1.1 and 2020B.2.1.2 PITs have been released with the following change:

  • A new web certificate for the Gemini Observatory Archive has been included so that archive duplication checks will function.

2020 February 28

The 2020B.2.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • The Canopus/GSAOI guide star search has been updated for the fainter limiting magnitudes of the new NGS2 wavefront sensor.
  • The following instruments are no longer available: GPI, COMICS@Subaru, FMOS@Subaru

Version 2020B.2.1.1 was released on March 16, 2020. The only change from version 2020B.2.1.0 is that the macOS dmg uses the HFS+ file system instead of APFS so that it will work with older versions of macOS.

2019 August 30

The 2020A.1.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • There is a new optional gender selection for investigators. This is for internal use only, to help evaluate any gender bias in the proposal process, and will not be shared with any TAC members.
  • IGRINS has been added to the instrument resource list.
  • The "TAC Category" has be renamed "Category" and the options have been updated.
  • "Multi-messenger astrophysics" has been added to the keywords list
  • Subaru's Suprime Cam is no longer available and has been removed from the instrument resource list.
  • The instruments and ToO status are now shown on the NOAO PDF summary form.

2019 February 28

The 2019B.2.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • Zorro has been added to the resource list.
  • There is a new 'ri' filter for GMOS-N

2018 December 3

The 2019A.1.2 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • LGS options for NIRI, NIFS, and GNIRS have been revealed again after successful commissioning of the new Toptica laser.

2018 August 31

The 2019A.1.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • The Republic of Korea is now a full partner and may participate in joint proposals.
  • LGS options for NIRI, NIFS, and GNIRS have been hidden since the new Toptica laser is not yet commissioned.
  • The FLAMINGOS-2 MOS option has been hidden since that mode is not yet commissioned.
  • CFHT exchange time proposers must now apply for queue mode.
  • New programs now show an empty observation tree to make it easier to get started with defining observations.
  • The target lookup interface has been updated to work more like the Observing Tool.
  • GPI magnitude limits have been updated for different cloud conditions.

2018 March 1

The 2018B.2.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • LGS options for NIRI, NIFS, and GNIRS have been re-introduced in anticipation of the new Toptica laser.
  • New OVI and OVIC filters have been added to the GMOS-N and GMOS-S filter lists.
  • A new entry for the 'Alopeke visitor instrument at Gemini North
  • The institutions list has been updated.

2017 August 31

The 2018A.1.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • The are new PDF summary style sheet options in an attempt to reduce unconscious bias during the review process. The options allow the list of investigators to be placed at the end of the proposal or to be left out. If the investigator list is placed at the end, then it is also reformatted to anonymize the PI.
  • The Y and J-lo filters have been removed from the FLAMINGOS-2 filter lists since they are currently not in the instrument.
  • There is now no limit on the length of suffixes for email addresses.
  • Las Cumbres Observatory has been added to the list of institutions.
  • A new proposal class for Subaru Intensive Program has been added to support the 2018B call for proposals.

2017 March 30

The 2017B.2.1.4 and 2017A.1.1.2 PITs have been released with the following change::

  • The PITs have been updated due to a change in the interface to the JPLHorizons ephemeris service. These versions are now required for querying the coordinates of non-sidereal targets.

2017 February 28

The 2017B.2.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • The PIT now calculates and includes the time needed for nighttime baseline calibrations. This time now needs to be included in the time request but, as before, it is charged to the partner, not the program.
  • The NOAO style sheet for the PDF summary moves the investigators list off of the first page in an attempt to reduce unconscious bias during the review process
  • The default style sheet for the PDF summary makes the investigators list easier to read.
  • New FLAMINGOS-2 intermediate-band K filters are included.
  • The FLAMINGOS-2 MOS mode is now shown in anticipation that it may be offered during the semester.
  • Problems with the calculation of GeMS guide stars have been resolved.

2016 August 31

The 2017A.1.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • The Gemini North LGS declination limit has been updated to match the hardware restrictions (elevation > 40 degrees). This allows the Galactic center to be observed from Gemini North.
  • GeMS observations are allowed in IQ85 to make the PIT consistent with the call for proposals.
  • Visitor instrument options have been updated for 2017A.
  • Astronomy institutions in the Republic of Korea have been added.
  • Astronomy institutions in Japan have been added.
  • Australian and US institutions have been updated.
  • A warning is given if the PI's phone number is not included. The phone number is optional but it is useful for user support.
  • A warning is given if the GMOS R600 grating is selected in a non-classical proposal. This grating is requested very infrequently and so is difficult to schedule in queue.
  • A warning is given if manually-entered non-sidereal ephemerides do not span the entire semester.
  • A finer PA decrement is used for FLAMINGOS-2 guide star searches to make the results more consistent with the OT.

2016 April 4

The 2016B.2.2 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • Japan has been added to the Fast Turnaround PI affiliation menu.
  • The Fast Turnaround PI affiliation can be selected before entering the PI contact information.

2016 February 29

The 2016B.2.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • All visitor instruments (e.g. DSSI, Phoenix) have site-selection options
  • Added GPI unblocked modes
  • A link to the top-level ITC page is included in the Help menu
  • Help buttons have been added to each tab. Clicking on one will open the help page for that tab in the browser.
  • If “Consider for Band 3” is Yes, then a ToDo for the creation of Band 3 observations is added to the Problems list.
  • Duplications are now checked using the Gemini Observatory Archive.
  • The PIT will now flag incompatible conditions and instrument configurations.
  • The text templates have been updated, a new section has been added to the large/long proposal form.

2015 August 28

The 2016A.1.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • Phoenix added as a Gemini South instrument
  • TEXES is available as a Gemini North visitor instrument
  • PIT submission status information has been updated to reflect when proposals have been received.
  • Target type options have been made more visible
  • The TOO target type is only allowed in TOO programs
  • PI name checks are included to help insure that the PI includes full contact information
  • The PIT now uses Java 8 and the required Java virtual machine (jvm) is distirbuted with the PIT for all supported operating systems. The system requirements of Java 8 limit it to working on Mac OS X 10.8.3 (Moutain Lion) or newer. 

2015 February 27

The 2015B.2.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • GRACES is available with updated options
  • Support for CFH exchange proposals
  • The size limit for the PDF file attachment has been increased to 30MB
  • Submission to partners with 0 requested time will be avoided
  • Improved error messages about which version of the PIT needs to be used with the desired backend server
  • Updated guidance in the large/long program text section templates.
  • More robust handling of non-ascii characters
  • The sums of the GS and GN observations times are shown on the PDF summaries
  • Fixed a bug related to the display of the program number when using the Australian style sheet.
  • The PIT now uses Java 7 and the required Java virtual machine (jvm) is distirbuted with the PIT for all supported operating systems. The system requirements of Java 7 limit it to working on Mac OS X 10.7.3 (Lion) or newer.

2014 September 25

The 2015A.1.2 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • Support for Korea proposals (this version should not be used by other partners).

2014 August 29

The 2015A.1.1 PIT has been released with the following changes:

  • Support the submission of Fast Turnaround programs
  • New GMOS 0.25" slits
  • Remove RA constraints on special (DD,PW) proposals
  • Discontinue support for Solaris

2014 July 24

The 2014B SV PIT (2014.2.2) has been released with the following changes:

  • Support GMOS-N + Altair
  • Add GMOS-S Z and Y filters
  • Support GRACES

2014 February 28

The 2014B PIT (2014.2.1) has been released with the following changes:

  • Support the submission of large and long programs
  • Make it possible to select DSSI and Texes
  • Allow selection of Subaru visitor instruments

2014 February 3

An updated 2014A PIT (2014A.1.2) has been released to support 2014A poor weather, director's time, and GPI early science proposals. Changes from the previous version include:

  • Added GPI and GRACES in the instrument resources list
  • Fixed a problem with Horizons nonsidereal target queries

2013 August 30

The 2014A PIT (2014.1.1) has been released with the following changes:

  • Proposers using the Gemini default template for the PDF attachment now have one page to describe the Experimental Design. This is simlar to the US/NOAO proposal template.
  • Proposers are now requested to attach representative results from the Gemini Integration Time calculators to the proposal. A new section for this has been added to the templates for the text sections.
  • Please describe any timing constraints for queue programs in the Scheduling constraints text box.
  • The PIT now provides better feedback about proposal submission problems.
  • The PIT will now check for duplicates in the investigator list.
  • The maximum airmass option has been removed from the conditions options. Any airmass constraints should be described in the Technical Description.
  • Warnings about guide stars have been made more self-consistent.
  • It is now possible to select a slit width for the GMOS MOS mode.
  • A new narrow-band filter, Lya395, is now available for GMOS-S.
  • The GNIRS resource selection now queries for a wavelength regime. 

2013 March 26

The an updated version of the 2013B PIT (2013.2.2) has been released with the following changes:

  • Fix guide star query configuration so that guide star likelihood calculations will work for all users.

2013 March 1

The 2013B PIT (2013.2.1) has been released with the following changes:

  • TEXES and DSSI (Speckle camera) visitor instruments have been added to the list of available instruments
  • It is now possible to enter the name of any new visitor instruments that are proposed for use. Please read the visiting instrument policy before applying to bring an instrument to Gemini.
  • The RA/Dec visibility limits have been updated.
  • When a proposal from a previous semeter is imported the user is notified of changes made during the translation to the current semester.

2012 August 31

The 2013A PIT (2.1.2) has been released with the following changes:

  • GSAOI has been added to the available instruments
  • GSAOI automatic guidestar evaluation has been included and will indicate whether a Canopus guide star asterism is available
  • Scheduling constraints are now entered in the Scheduling tab in the PIT rather than in the text attachment.
  • A "Download" button on the Attachments line will open the web site with the LaTeX/Word attachment template files in a browser window.
  • The mouse-over text explaining the guiding success probabilities has been updated to try to make the results clearer.
  • There have been many improvements to the format of the PDF summaries

2012 April 3 

An updated version of the 2012B PIT (2.1.0) has been released with the following changes: 

  • UTC time can be entered in non-sidereal target ephemerides
  • The target list can be sorted by Name, RA, or Dec
  • A TAC tab for NTAC rankings and comments has been added
  • Bugs fixed in the creation of the PDF summary (Exchange instrument names, NOAO proposal number, sum of allocated times)
  • Added support for relative as well as absolute for the PDF attachment. The attachment will be found if it is in the same directory as the XML file. This is mainly to facilitate NTAC proposal handling.

2012 March 1

The 2012B PIT is entirely new and improved. No code is shared with the previous Tool, and users are encouraged to get familiar with the new Tool well ahead of the proposal submission deadline. Some elements will look similar to the Observing Tool (OT).

Proposals for Semester 2012A Director's Time, Poor Weather or Science Verification need to continue to use the 2012A PIT until further notice (at least through June when a new OT will be released).

Users should refer to the Help information for the new PIT, and in need use the Gemini Helpdesk for further assistance.


PIT Known Bugs

Known bugs (and workaround, where possible) in the Phase I Tool are described here. Please also read the Frequently Asked Questions / Common Mistakes (FAQ/FMM) page for other possible problems. If you find a new problem, please submit the information via the Gemini HelpDesk.

2017 September 1

You may encounter a display problem in Windows 10 in which the fonts in adjacent table rows overlap. This is due to an issue with Windows/java font scaling but this does not affect functionality. A workaround is to change the scaling of text and apps to between 100% and 175%, depending on screen resolution.

2017 March 8

The 2017B.2.1.1 version of the PIT does not allow the submission of proposals for exchange observing at Subaru. This bug is fixed in the 2017B.2.1.2 version of the PIT.

2016 March 1

The 2016A & 2016B versions of the PIT do not allow selecting the Fast Turnaround PI Affiliation before filling out the PI Address. This is fixed in the 2017A PIT.

2015 April 30 

Java version 1.7 has a known unresolved network issue on the Mac if a hostname does not include a domain name, resulting in a message like "your mac's hostname does not contain domain information...". See this page for a workaround.

2015 Feb 27 

If you find that you cannot open an editable copy of a program after importing a previously submitted proposal into a newer version of the PIT, then open the proposal with the version of PIT that was used to create it, create an editable copy, and then save as a new file. Then import the editable proposal into the newer PIT.

2013 March 26

There is a bug in PIT 2013.2.1 that prevents the calculation of guide star availabilities for all users. This bug has been fixed with the release of version 2013.2.2.

2012 March 1

There are no known bugs in the 2012A or 2012B PIT releases. However, there is one issue in the 2012B and later PITs. If it is installed in a multi-user environment then a system administrator must make the startup file executable by all users. For OS X this requires editing the package contents to change permissions on the file JavaApplicationStub.

2000 - 2011

Archive of known bugs 2000 - 2011


PIT FAQ and FMM

Frequently asked questions (and frequently made mistakes!) regarding Phase I proposals and the Gemini Phase I Tool are discussed here. (See also the known bugs page for other known problems).

The links provided below are for information only. The Gemini Observatory does not endorse these products or assume any responsibility for their use. 

All questions should be submitted 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 provide you with the answer or escalate it to Gemini staff if necessary.

2020 Jun 19

The automatic Gemini Science Archive (GOA) duplication check in the PIT is not working again due to changes to the GOA's web certificate. Therefore, the circle in the GOA column of the Observations tables will remain grey. You may check manually by highlighting an Observation line in the table and then clicking the black and gold "G" icon in the lower right corner of the tab. This will open the GOA search results in a browser tab.

2020 Feb 28

On recent versions of macOS, especially 10.15 (Catalina), you will need to give the application permission to run the first time that you use it. You can either:

  • Ctrl-click the application icon, select Open and then click Open in the subsequent dialog
  • Double-click the app icon, then click Ok in the subsequent dialog. Then open System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> General and click on Open Anyway. Finally, click Open in the next dialog.

We are working on having the PIT application signed by Apple so that this will no longer be required.

2013 Aug 27

Attaching ITC output to the proposal: Starting in 2014A representative Gemini Integration Time Calculator (ITC) output should be included in the PDF file that is attached to the proposal in the PIT. First, save or print the ITC results page to a PDF file. In Linux and OSX the ability to print to a PDF file should be built in. In Windows you may need to install additional software like the Bullzip PDF printer. A few suggestions for how to incorporate the PDFs from the ITC into the PDF from the LaTeX or Word documents are given below.

  • The recommended method is to create a PDF file for the proposal text sections using the LaTeX/Word templates and then merge this with the ITC output files. This method must be used when using the Word template. The following is a list of a few tools that can be used to merge PDF files.
  • PDF files can also be included directly into the LaTeX template using \includepdf. This method requires using pdflatex to process the Latex, so eps figures cannot be included along with the ITC PDF documents. Eps figures need to be converted to another graphics format (eg. png) and then included with \includgraphics.
  • The ITC output can be saved as a postscript file, which can be split into single page postscript images using for example ghostview, and each figure then included in Latex in the usual way with \plotone.

2006 Feb 21
Converting a postscript file to PDF: The PIT does not accept postscript (.ps or .eps) attachments. The following tools are available to convert postscript documents to PDF (thanks to STScI and the Spitzer Science Center).

Free PDF viewers include: