The deadline for Gemini proposals in Semester 2015B has now passed. We will begin accepting proposals for Semester 2016A in early September 2015.
The nominal proposal deadline for the A semester (Feb-July) each year is 5:00pm AEST on 30 September the year before; and for the B semester (Aug-Jan) is 5:00pm AEST on 31 March of that year. When the proposal deadline falls on a weekend or a public holiday, it may be moved a day or two earlier or later. A Call for Proposals is normally issued via the Astronomical Society of Australia e-mail exploder about a month prior to the deadline.
Poor weather and Director's Discretionary Time proposals may be submitted at any time. However submitting these proposal types requires the use of the 2015A version of the Phase I Tool - attempts to submit new queue proposals for 2015B using this older PIT version will not work. Such proposals are submitted directly to the Gemini Observatory for their consideration, and any time awarded is not charged to Australia's share of Gemini time.
This page contains a summary of the Gemini call for proposals, together with some hints on how to maximise your chances of getting data. It should be read in conjunction with the Gemini Observatory Call for Proposals web page, which gives more details on the operational modes available, as well as the Overview of the Gemini proposal submission process web page.
- What's new in this semester?
- Instruments on Gemini North
- Instruments on Gemini South
- Instruments on Subaru
- Available Time
- Classical observing with Gemini
- Remote Eavesdropping with Gemini
- Submitting a Proposal
- Need help?
- Maximising your chances of getting time (and data!)
- Semester 2015B marks the final semester in which Australia will be a full partner in Gemini. For this semester Australian-led and joint proposals involving Australia will be assessed and scheduled in the usual way, but will not be executed after Australia's membership in Gemini formally ends on 31 December 2015. Thus programs which can only be executed in January 2016 will not be accepted, and Australian Band 1 programs will not be eligible for rollover into later semesters.
- Notwithstanding the end of Australia's full partnership in Gemini, Astronomy Australia Ltd and the AAO have secured a limited-term partnership for 2016, providing a total of 7 classical nights over Semesters 2016A and 2016B split between Gemini North and Gemini South. Details of how this time will be made available to the Australian community will be announced prior to the Semester 2016A Call for Proposals.
- The Gemini Remote Access to CFHT ESPaDOnS Spectrograph (GRACES) facility is now available. GRACES combines the large collecting area of the Gemini North telescope with the high resolving power and high efficiency of the ESPaDOnS spectrograph at CFHT via a 270m-long optical fibre, to deliver high-resolution (R~67,500) optical spectroscopy between 400 and 1000 nm with a sensitivity comparable to, or better than HIRES on Keck. GRACES observations will be carried out in a number of observing blocks coordinated with CFHT.
- Pending successful commissioning in Semester 2015A the Non Redundant Mask mode is available for use on the Gemini Planet Imager.
- It is anticipated that the On-Instrument Wavefront Sensor (OIWFS) will become the default guiding mode for FLAMINGOS-2 from 2015B. This will reduce both the impact of flexure on long spectroscopic exposures, as well as potential vignetting in imaging from the use of PWFS2. Pending successful installation in Semester 2015A, an extended K-band filter will be offered in Semester 2015B.
- New Hamamatsu CCDs offering improved and extended sensitivity out to 1 micron are now in regular use in GMOS-South, Applicants for 2015B should be sure to select "CCD Type = Hamamatsu array" in the GMOS-South Integration Time Calculator in planning their proposals. Pending the delivery of CCDs and new video boards, a similar CCD array may be installed in GMOS-North at some point in Semester 2015B; however applicants should assume only the current e2v Deep Depletion CCDs will be available for science in Semester 2015B.
- Student and early-career researchers involved in classical or queue programs are eligible to apply for Gemini's "Bring One, Get One" travel subsidy program, when accompanying a senior observer.
- The DSSI speckle imaging camera is being offered as a visitor instrument on Gemini North in December 2015.
- Up to 5 nights on the Subaru telescope will be available to the Gemini community, including shared risks use of the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) very wide field optical to far-red imager, and 3 visitor instruments (HiCIAO, Kyoto3DII, and SCExAO) by arrangement with the instrument PI.
- Due to the end of Australia's full partnership in Gemini, new Australian-led proposals for Large & long-term Programs (LPs) cannot be submitted. Similarly Australia is not eligible to participate in the new Fast Turnaround Program.
There are strict target accessibility limits in force. Targets for Gemini North should have 17h < RA < 24h or 0h < RA < 13.5h and -37 < Dec < +90; for Gemini South targets should have 16h < RA < 24h or 0h < RA < 12h and -90 < Dec < +28. Exceptions may be allowed for very short observations, or with relaxed observing constraints. For 2015B there are additional constraints on all LGS programs at Gemini North and Gemini South; on the DSSI visitor instrument; and on GPI.
The community should note that the Observatory welcomes proposals which use the full range of observing conditions. This includes proposals that can use cloudy (CC>70%) conditions, which implies a loss of signal of at least 30%, and up to a factor of 6.
The instruments available on Gemini North are:
- GRACES, a fibre feed from the Gemini North telescope to the ESPaDOnS spectrograph at CFHT, offering high-resolution (R~67,500) optical spectroscopy between 400 and 1000 nm.
- the GMOS optical imager, multi-object, and integral field spectrograph. Although new Hamamatsu CCDs may be installed in GMOS-North at some point in Semester 2015B, applicants should assume only the current e2v Deep Depletion CCDs will be available.
- the NIFS near-infrared (0.95-2.4 micron) integral field unit spectrograph.
- the GNIRS 1-5 micron long-slit spectrograph is available in all modes, except with the short red camera. YJHK imaging is available via the acquisition keyhole.
- the NIRI near-infrared (1-5 micron) imager. Due to planned major refurbishment NIRI may not be available in Semester 2016A.
- the visiting DSSI dual-channel visual-wavelength camera giving simultaneous diffraction-limited images in two filters over a 2.8-5.6 arcsecond field of view. Up to 100 hours are available during Dec 2015, limiting RAs to 23h to 13h.
GNIRS, NIRI, and NIFS can be used in conjunction with the ALTAIR adaptive optics system, using natural or laser guide stars, or in the LGS+PWFS1 "super seeing" mode. Note however that due to flexure, frequent reacquisition with the LGS+PWFS1 mode may be necessary.
The instruments available on Gemini South are:
- the GMOS optical imager, multi-object, and integral field spectrograph, with a new set of 3 Hamamatsu CCDs with quantum efficiency > 80% from 500-900nm, and reduced fringing cf. the old E2V CCDs.
- the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), an adaptive optics 0.9-2.4 micron imaging/polarimeter/integral-field spectrometer is available in all modes (including Non Redundant Masking) throughout the semester. The instrument is restricted to a maximum zenith distance of 50 degrees, and CC50 with IQ70 for nominal performance. PIs should note the GPI target duplication policy.
- The FLAMINGOS-2 near-infrared imager and spectrograph is available for imaging and long-slit spectroscopy. The spectral resolution with narrow slits varies with wavelength. MOS mode commissioning is planned to commence in 2015B, but cannot yet be offered to the community.
- The Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics system GeMS, and
South Adaptive Optics Imager, which together deliver
diffraction-limited images over a 85 arcsec field of view, will be
available in a couple of blocks only during 2015B. Targets are
restricted to RA 19h through 11h and Dec -75d to +15d,
and applicants should check the availability of suitable
Guide Star constellations (with 3, 2, or even just 1 Canopus Wave
Front Sensor stars, and one On-Detector Guide Window star) using the
Observing Tool before submitting a proposal.
Note that it may be necessary to limit new GeMS+GSAOI program allocations at ITAC in light of resource constraints and rollover program requirements. Applicants should note that observations in IQ85 are possible and welcomed for programs that can use delivered images with full-width half-maximum ~0.2 arcseconds instead of the <= 0.1 arcseconds delivered in IQ70 or IQ20 conditions.
Depending on demand from the Japanese community for Gemini time in 2015B, it is hoped that up to 5 classical nights on Subaru will be available to the Gemini community. The minimum request is 1 night - partial nights cannot be supported. Note that Joint Proposals may seek less than one night per partner, provided the total request is for an integer number of nights. PIs in the Gemini community who intend to use the Subaru Telescope are encouraged to apply through this time-exchange program, and not through the open use Subaru Call.
The instruments and their availability on Subaru are:
- Hyper Suprime-Cam, the very wide field (1.5 degree field of view) optical to far-red imager is available in shared-risk mode. Three narrow-band filters centred on 515nm, 816nm, and 921nm are available by arrangement with the filter developers. Please check the likely filter availability before applying.
- FMOS, a near-infrared fiber-fed multi-object spectrograph, offered in shared-risk for both high- and low-resolution mode with IRS1 and IRS2. A new HR mode is offered as "H-short prime" (1.45-1.67 micron).
- COMICS, a mid-infrared camera and spectrograph.
- FOCAS, an optical imager and spectrograph with longslit, multi-slit, polarimetry, and spectropolarimetry modes.
- HDS, an optical high dispersion spectrograph with a resolution up to R=165,000 via the use of image slicers.
- IRCS, a near-infrared camera with coronagraphic and natural/laser guide star adaptive optics modes, linear polarimetry, as well as longslit spectroscopy with resolution up to R=20,000.
- MOIRCS, a wide-field near-infrared imager and multi-object spectrograph is offered, but will be unavailable from May 2015 until early in 2015B for the detector upgrade.
- Suprime-Cam, a prime-focus optical wide-field imager will be available in Sep and Dec 2015 only.
- 3 additional visitor instruments are also being offered in
limited blocks during 2015B, though observing proposals using these
must include the relevant instrument PI as a Co-investigator.
- HiCIAO provides a near-infrared imaging capability in the vicinity of bright sources.
- Kyoto3DII provides Fabry-Perot / filter imaging and integral field / long-slit spectroscopy in the optical.
- SCExAO (Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics) delivers high contrast images of the innermost surroundings of bright sources to HiCIAO.
Note that exchange time on Subaru is "classical" observing time - someone will need to go to the telescope to carry out the observations. ITSO and AAL have secured funding to cover the costs of observers allocated exchange time on Subaru (or classical observing time on Gemini) by ATAC along the same lines as it does for ATAC allocations on Magellan.
A total of 69 hours of time on Gemini North, and 59 hours on Gemini South are nominally available for ATAC to allocate. This is less than recent semesters due to the time committed by Australia to the current Large and long-term Programs. Up to 80% of this time will be filled at ITAC, with the remaining 20% available for Poor Weather programs. If one telescope is far more oversubscribed than the other, we may arrange a swap of nights with another partner country with an opposite imbalance so as to even out demand, or switch programs with equatorial targets to a different telescope.
ATAC encourages applications which can tolerate a wide range of observing conditions on Gemini. Note that by being able to relax their observing condition constraints, and avoiding the most sought-after right ascensions, ATAC programs in Band 3 have achieved a better-than-average completion rate. ATAC also welcomes more ambitious Gemini proposals seeking substantial fractions of Australian time, and particularly those programs seeking time jointly with other Gemini partners. Applicants are strongly encouraged to ask for a fraction of time in a multi-partner (Joint) proposal proportional to their intellectual involvement in the project, rather than divided up in proportion to the partner share of the proposers from different countries.
Poor weather and Director's Discretionary Time proposals may be submited at any time via the 2015A version of the Phase I Tool. Such proposals are submitted directly to the Gemini Observatory and assessed by the Head of Science Operations at each Gemini telescope, so there is no need to worry about proposal deadlines (or getting the proposal past ATAC). Proposals submitted for regular queue time but not ranked highly enough by ATAC to be allocated time in Bands 1-3 may be also be assigned to the Poor Weather Queue by ATAC if they can still make use of such conditions.
In certain situations, observing in "classical" mode where the PI is assigned specific nights on one of the Gemini telescopes and travels to the telescope to carry out these observations, may be called for. As classical time is top-sliced from a partner's allocation with a consequent reduction in the size of queue Bands 1-3, and there is the usual risk that the necessary observing conditions may not be met on the allocated night(s), the case for a classical versus a queue allocation needs to be a strong one. Nevertheless ATAC has assigned classical nights on Gemini in past semesters and welcomes all such proposals. In the event that Australian-based observers are allocated classical nights by ATAC on either Gemini North or Gemini South, ITSO will reimburse the observer(s) for associated costs on a similar basis to the policies for scheduled Magellan observers.remote eavesdropping as their programs are being executed. PIs will be invited by the Gemini queue observer to connect via Skype and assist with complex acquisitions, monitor the quality of the incoming data, etc. and gain a better understanding of the Gemini observing process. Note that an observing night at Gemini South corresponds quite closely with working hours in Australia, and at Gemini North the night is generally over by 2am in the eastern states, so eavesdropping is relatively convenient for Australian users. Eligible PIs will be invited to indicate their availability for remote eavesdropping in the e-mail from Gemini advising them of their Phase 2 details.
The Gemini Phase I Proposal Tool (PIT) is a Java program which must be installed on the applicant's own computer (Mac OS-X, Linux, or Windows). A new version is available for the 2015B round, and must be used. It can be downloaded from PIT Installation. You will also require the default LaTeX style file and template, or Word template for 2015B to create the scientific and technical justifications, as well as the ancillary information. These can also be downloaded from within the PIT itself. Do not attempt to change the font size, margins, etc. in the style file or template.
ATAC applicants should use the "Gemini default" style file and LaTeX/Word templates. The scientific case, experimental design, and technical case sections each have a maximum length of one page of text, while the figures, captions, references, and tables may use up to two additional pages. Appended output from the ITCs does not count towards these totals. In the "Experimental Design" section the PI should address how these observations contribute toward the accomplishment of the goals outlined in the science justification; information on the targets/sample size; data analysis; additional calibrations, etc. PIs are strongly encouraged to include the output from the instrument time calculators in the proposal. Save or convert this document into PDF format, then attach it to the proposal submission by clicking on the paper clip icon next to the "PDF attachment goes here" line in the Overview tab of the PIT.
If time is being requested on both Gemini North and Gemini South instruments for the one scientific program, then you only need to submit one proposal, and state explicitly in the Technical Description the split of time between telescopes being sought. Similarly, joint proposals should make clear in the Band 3 section of the attachment the share of time between partners if the Band 3 total time differs from that required in Bands 1 or 2.
Gemini has provided a comprehensive set of help pages and also video tutorials to help get you started. Please study these first, and if you need further assistance or clarification then submit a Helpdesk request.
See the Supporting Information web page for further details about:
- Joint Proposals
- Target-of-Opportunity (ToO) proposals
- Time Allocation process
- Submissions to use multiple telescopes
- Rollover of Band 1 programs
- GMOS Mask Pre-imaging
- Poor Weather programs
- Exchange Time arrangements with Subaru
The electronic submission process built into the PIT for Australian proposals will send the proposal XML file and PDF attachment to the International Telescopes Support Office at the Australian Astronomical Observatory, which is the service organization for ATAC. The PIT will flag any issues or missing elements of a proposal in the "Problems" section. Only when these are rectified will the PIT enable you to submit the proposal from the Submit tab. Pressing "Submit this Proposal" will attempt to upload your proposal and PDF attachment to the AAO, and any joint partner. If successful this will be reported in the Submit tab (not in a separate pop-up window), along with a proposal reference number and contact e-mail in case you have any further queries. You will not receive any acknowledgement e-mail. If you do not see a reference number but the PIT Submit tab shows the proposal status as "Successfully Submitted", please send an e-mail to ausgo -@- aao.gov.au - do not try to re-submit the proposal. The PIT will not allow you to submit the same proposal twice; you will have to "Open an Editable Copy" if you wish to re-use a proposal from a previous semester.
All requests for assistance and information regarding new proposals, the available instruments, the PIT, etc, should be handled through the Gemini HelpDesk. This Web-based system will forward the query initially to ITSO staff, who may then escalate it to other National Gemini Office staff, or Gemini Observatory staff, as required.
- Due to the very high demand for a limited number of exchange nights on Subaru, ATAC applicants are strongly encouraged to consider submitting Joint proposals with other Gemini partners in order to improve their chances of getting exchange time.
- ATAC proposals have to be read and assessed against a cohort of proposals extending across all of astronomy. ATAC members therefore have a wide range of backgrounds and expertise spanning all areas of astronomy. However, not all committee members may be experts in your area, and familiar with all its acronyms and jargon. Even when all acronyms are defined as they are used, the excessive use of acronyms can quickly exhaust the mental stack of even the most careful and committed reader. Proposals that assume all readers have an intimate knowledge of all the acronyms and jargon used across all of astronomy, and/or an infinite capacity for remembering new acronyms, may therefore put themselves at an unnecessary disadvantage when it comes to being easily read and understood by ATAC members.
- Applicants are advised to clearly state (in your technical justification) a realistic minimum total time required for their project to be viable. Please note that there is no penalty involved in quoting a minimum time less than the requested time, as ATAC does not normally allocate less than the requested time unless queue filling precludes this. Indeed, allocations in Band 3 will sometimes be for larger amounts of time than originally sought, to partly compensate for the poorer observing conditions under which such programs will need to be executed. Such a statement could help you in two circumstances:
- Firstly, if your proposal is ranked near the cut-off, there may not be enough Australian time left to give you your full allocation. Your statement will help ATAC decide whether it is scientifically useful to give you less than your requested time, or whether the time should be given to another smaller proposal. Several proposals that set "minimum time = requested time" have in the past been unsuccessful for exactly this reason.
- Secondly, if your proposal asks for time from several partner countries, and Australia ranks it highly but other partners rank it poorly, it will help ATAC decide whether it is worth giving you just the Australian time, or whether this is scientifically useless by itself.
International Telescopes Support Office, ausgo -@- aao.gov.au