The deadline for Gemini proposals in Semester 2016A has now passed. We will begin accepting proposals for Semester 2016B in early March 2016.
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.
This page contains only a summary of the Gemini call for proposals, and information specific to ATAC applicants in 2016A. 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
- Available Time
- Classical observing with Gemini
- Submitting a Proposal
- Need help?
- Australia will cease to be a full partner in Gemini after 31 December 2015. 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. As a limited-term partner, Australia is ineligible to participate in the Gemini queue process, the exchange program with Subaru, or in the joint proposal process. Additionally, access to block-scheduled instruments is subject to scheduling constraints, and not guaranteed. The block-scheduled instruments are GSAOI, GRACES, DSSI, TEXES, and Phoenix.
- Proposals should request at least one, and at most two nights on any one telescope. Applicants must indicate in the Observing Conditions section the poorest conditions (principally the Image Quality and the Cloud Cover) they can use and still achieve their science goals. They should also specify a backup program (which may employ a different instrument if available) they would carry out if conditions are worse than this.
- Although requests for queue mode on Gemini are not being sought in 2016A, ATAC may identify a subset of highly-ranked but unsuccessful programs submitted for classical time as being suitable for a "mini-queue" of programs to be executed by the scheduled PI (with assistance from Gemini staff), in case conditions are not good enough for their primary program. Applicants who would like their proposal to be considered for the mini-queue if not allocated classical time should indicate this in the technical justification section of their proposal.
- Target-of-Opportunity (ToO) proposals cannot be submitted as classical programs. However, applicants may request classical time to follow up targets whose location and characteristics may not be known at the time of submission (e.g. supernovae, new objects of interest from ongoing surveys, etc.).
- The Hamamatsu CCDs offering improved and extended sensitivity out to 1 micron are now in regular use in GMOS-South. A number of recent issues with apparent banding and charge smearing appear to have been resolved through controller upgrades. Applicants for 2016A 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 towards the end of Semester 2016A; however applicants should assume only the current e2v Deep Depletion CCDs will be available for science in Semester 2016A.
- Student and early-career researchers involved in classical programs are eligible to apply for Gemini's "Bring One, Get One" travel subsidy program, when accompanying a senior observer.
There are strict target accessibility limits in force. Targets for Gemini North should have 4h < RA < 24h or 0h < RA < 1h and -37 < Dec < +90; for Gemini South targets should have 5h < RA < 24h or 0h < RA < 2h and -90 < Dec < +28. Exceptions may be allowed for very short observations, or with relaxed observing constraints. For 2016A there are additional constraints on all LGS programs at Gemini North and Gemini South; on all visitor instruments (DSSI, Phoenix, TEXES); and on GPI.
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 late in Semester 2016A, 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.
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 a 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 in shared-risks) 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 2016A, but cannot yet be offered to the community.
- The Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics system GeMS, and the Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager, which together deliver diffraction-limited images over a 85 arcsec field of view, will be available in up to 3 separate blocks during 2016A. Targets are restricted to RA 6h through 22h 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. 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.
ATAC will have up to 2 classical nights (equivalent to 20 hours of observing time) on Gemini North, and up to 2 classical nights on Gemini South to allocate. ATAC will allocate at least 3, and up to 4 nights total on Gemini in Semester 2016A, with the remainder of the 7 classical nights to be allocated in Semester 2016B.
ATAC encourages applications which can tolerate a wide range of observing conditions on Gemini. As noted above, all applicants must indicate in the Observing Conditions section the poorest conditions they can tolerate and still achieve their science goals, and specify a backup program if conditions are worse than this. ATAC may identify a subset of programs as being suitable for a "mini-queue" of programs to be executed by the scheduled PI instead of their own backup program, in case conditions are not good enough for their primary program.
Director's Discretionary Time (DDT) proposals may be submitted at any time. However submitting DDT proposals requires the use of the 2015B version of the Phase I Tool - attempts to submit new proposals for 2016A 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.
ATAC Gemini allocations in 2016 will be in "classical" mode where the PI is assigned specific nights and travels to the telescope to carry out these observations. ITSO will reimburse the observer(s) for associated costs on a similar basis to the policies for scheduled Magellan and Keck observers.
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 2016A 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 2016A to create the scientific and technical justifications, as well as the ancillary information. These can also be downloaded from within the PIT itself as one of the Help options. Do not attempt to change the font size, margins, etc. in the style file or template.
Applicants for ATAC time in 2016 should ensure they set Proposal Class to Classical Observing at Gemini in the Time Requests tab of the PIT, and then identify the anticipated visiting observer(s) from the list of Investigators. Time requests from Australia only (time cannot be requested from any other partners as part of a joint proposal) should be in units of nights, not hours.
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.
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.
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. If successful this will be reported in the Submit tab (not in a separate pop-up window) with Status = "Received", 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 "Received", please send an e-mail to itso -@- 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.
International Telescopes Support Office, itso -@- aao.gov.au