The Gemini Observatory has announced the 2014B
Call for Proposals for use of the Gemini North and Gemini South Telescopes,
as well as exchange time access (in classical mode only) to
all facility and visitor
instruments on Subaru.
Australian proposals for Gemini or Subaru time must be submitted
electronically, via use of the 2014B version of the Gemini Phase I Tool (PIT), to
the Australian Time Allocation Committee (ATAC) by:
5:00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, Monday 31 March 2014
unless the PI is from an institution in another partner country, in which
case the deadline of that country applies.
Note that Daylight Saving time is in effect in all states except WA,
QLD, and the Northern Territory until 6 April 2014. However the
proposal deadline is always Australian Eastern Standard Time.
weather and Director's
Discretionary Time proposals may be submitted at any time via the 2014A version
of the Phase I Tool. 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
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.
See the ATAC Policies and Procedures
document for information about how Australian Gemini time is allocated.
To stay abreast of developments at Gemini, you can
subscribe to the Gemini
What's new in 2014B?
Australia Ltd and AusGO have secured funding from the Australian
government's NCRIS-2013 program to assist student Principal
Investigators enrolled at an Australian institution who are awarded
queue or classical time on Gemini by ATAC in Semesters 2014B and/or
2015A to travel to the telescope. Travel subsidies
will be made available so that students can spend a week at
whichever Gemini telescope their program is scheduled on, during which
time they will work alongside the queue observer to learn how the
queue process and various instruments work, and may get to
execute sequences from their own program. Student PIs who would be
interested in taking up this opportunity should indicate this in the
Technical Description section of their proposal, and successful PIs
will be contacted after the Gemini allocations are announced with
details on how to arrange a visit and claim the subsidy. Independently
of this scheme, the Gemini Observatory is also offering
travel grants for students
when accompanying their supervisor to a Gemini telescope.
Gemini Planet Imager is offered for community use in shared-risks mode
in Semester 2014B. With commissioning and early science ongoing throughout
Semester 2014A, potential applicants should check the GPI
current status and performance update.
- The CCDs in GMOS-South are scheduled to be replaced with new Hamamatsu CCDs in May/June 2014, and commissioned in time for the start of 2014B.
The GMOS-South Integration Time Calculator will
shortly be updated to include both the old EEV and the new Hamamatsu CCD
for 2014B should assume the use of the new Hamamatsu detectors in planning
- Following a recent analysis of the seeing percentiles at both
FWHM corresponding to IQ20 conditions has been relaxed slightly.
This should reduce the number of IQ20 observations which have to be
abandoned when the seeing softens over time, while still enabling PIs
who need the very best image quality that Gemini can deliver to
complete their programs.
- Proposals for Large & long-term Programs to commence
in 2014B are also being
accepted from applicants who earlier submitted a Letter Of Intent.
Different page lengths and additional requirements apply to Large and
long-term applications, which should use the special
- The visitor instruments DSSI and
offered on Gemini North in July/August.
- There will be a guaranteed minimum of 5 nights on the Subaru telescope
available to the Gemini community, including shared risks use of the
(HSC) very wide field optical to far-red imager, and 4 visitor instruments
(HiCIAO, Kyoto3DII, Raven, and
SCExAO) by arrangement
with the instrument PI.
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 2014B there are additional constraints
on all LGS programs at Gemini North and Gemini South,
on visitor instruments, and on GNIRS to enable instrument upgrades.
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:
- the GMOS
optical imager, multi-object, and integral field spectrograph.
Applicants should refer to the instrument
web pages for current performance with the deep depletion E2V CCDs.
- the GNIRS 1-5
micron long-slit spectrograph is available in all modes after 6 Oct
(special RA limits apply),
following replacement of the short red lens and installation of a blocking
filter for Y-band imaging. Imaging
with GNIRS is possible, although the field of view and filter
selection is limited, and the optics do not give diffraction-limited
- the NIRI near-infrared imager.
- the NIFS near-infrared integral field unit spectrograph.
- 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 July 17-27,
limiting RAs to 16h to 3h.
- the visiting TEXES high resolution (R ~4,000-100,000) mid-infrared (5-25 micron)
spectrometer. Up to 100 hours are available during August 7-17,
limiting RAs to 16h to 3h.
GNIRS, NIRI, and NIFS can be used in conjunction with the ALTAIR
adaptive optics system, using natural or
guide stars, or in the LGS+PWFS1 "super seeing" mode. Note
however that pending further probe-mapping to determine 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.
Pending successful installation and commissioning of a new set of 3
Hamamatsu CCDs in the latter half of Semester 2014A,
the performance of GMOS-S, especially at redder wavelengths, should be
- the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), a new adaptive optics 0.9-2.4 micron
imaging/polarimeter/integral-field spectrometer is offered in shared-risks mode
throughout the semester. The instrument is initially restricted to a maximum
zenith distance of 40 degrees, and CC50 with IQ70 for nominal performance.
Please check the GPI Observing Constraints pages for more information.
- The FLAMINGOS-2
near-infrared imager and spectrograph will be offered for imaging and
long-slit spectroscopy only throughout 2014B. MOS mode is not yet offered.
The current delivered image
quality with FLAMINGOS-2 is equivalent to IQ20 conditions within
the inner ~1 arcmin or so, and to IQ70 conditions within a 4-5 arcmin field.
Note also that the spectral resolution with narrow slits
varies with wavelength. Please check the
and Availability page for the latest information.
- The Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics system
and the Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager, which together deliver diffraction-limited
images over a 85 arcsec field of view. Targets are restricted to RA 19h through
12h and Dec -75d to +15d, and applicants should check the availability of
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.
Although no formal limit on available GeMS/GSAOI time has been set
for 2014B, it may be necessary to limit new 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.
A minimum of 5 classical nights on Subaru are
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
The instruments and their availability on Subaru are:
Suprime-Cam, the new very wide field (1.5 degree field of view)
optical to far-red imager is available in shared-risk mode using
g, r, i, z, y filters only.
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.
an optical imager and spectrograph with longslit, multi-slit, polarimetry,
and spectropolarimetry modes.
an optical high dispersion spectrograph with a resolution up to
a near-infrared camera with coronagraphic and natural guide star adaptive
optics modes, as well as longslit spectroscopy with resolution up to
a wide-field near-infrared imager and multi-object spectrograph is
offered, but will be unavailable for a few months (possibly near the end
of 2014) due to engineering work for the detector upgrade.
a prime-focus optical wide-field imager. The required filters must be
explicitly stated in the proposal.
Due to overhauling of its filter exchanger, Suprime-Cam will be unavailable
for up to 3 months of 2014B, though the exact period is not fixed yet.
- 4 additional visitor instruments are also being offered in 2014B,
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.
- Raven is a Multi-Object
Adaptive Optics(MOAO) demonstrator that delivers diffraction-limited images
in 2 science channels to IRCS.
- 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. AusGO and AAL have secured funding from the
Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme 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 99 hours of time on Gemini North, and 87 hours
on Gemini South are nominally available for ATAC to allocate.
Depending on the outcome of the Large and long-term Program process,
up to 20% of the time on each telescope may be top-sliced for LPs. 80%
of the remainder 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
ATAC encourages applications which can tolerate a wide range of
observing conditions on Gemini. Note that by being able to relax their
condition constraints, and avoiding
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.
weather and Director's
Discretionary Time proposals may be submited at any time via the
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.
Classical Observing with Gemini
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,
AusGO will reimburse the observer(s) for associated costs on a similar
basis to the policies for scheduled
Remote Eavesdropping with Gemini
Gemini offers PIs of Band 1 and 2 queue programs (with the exception of
GeMS+GSAOI) the opportunity to participate via remote
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.
Submitting a Proposal
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 2014B round, and must be
used. It can be downloaded
Installation. You will also require the
template for 2014B 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. Both the style
file and the template have been updated for 2014B, so applicants
should fetch and use these new versions.
Proposals which use the 2014A or earlier style will not be accepted.
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
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:
The electronic submission process built into the PIT for
Australian proposals will send the proposal XML file and PDF
attachment to the Australian Gemini 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), 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 AusGO staff, who may then escalate it to
other National Gemini Office staff, or Gemini Observatory staff, as required.
Some hints on maximising your chances of
getting time (and data!)
- 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
- 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:
Applicants are also required to state clearly what you would do if your
proposal was awarded time in Band 3. There is a special tab in the
PIT to do this. Note that filling in this tab in no way reduces your chances
of being ranked in Band 1 or 2; leaving it blank however can severely
limit your chances of getting into any band. Proposals in Band 3 are very
unlikely to be carried
out if they require the best (and most requested) weather conditions.
If your program is ranked in the highest bands, this will make no
difference. But if it is ranked in Band 3, we will ask you (if
necessary) to think about shortening it, downgrading the weather
constraints, picking brighter targets or a wider range of potential
targets, and otherwise increasing the chance that it will actually get
done. If ATAC does not feel that these changes can be made in a way that
preserves at least some useful science, your proposal may be dropped
from the list and replaced by one with a lower scientific ranking, but
more chance of being executed in Band 3. Gemini also offer several
suggestions for making the most of Band 3 time.
Having a range of targets at different RAs and Decs can help your
chance of being executed in the Gemini queue. List as many targets as
you like, but insert a note explaining how many you actually are
requesting time to observe. Where possible, try to avoid the
Due to the requirement that all Laser Guide Star targets receive
clearance in advance from US Space Command, it is recommended that all
such programs be split into blocks of no more than ~1.5 hrs each in
order to be schedulable. Also, the need for Laser Guide Stars when
observing calibration targets should be weighed up against the risk of
not being able to schedule the calibration observations alongside the
science target observations.
Getting your Phase II program completed early (for targets
observable early in the semester) can do wonders for the chances of
your program being executed. In some cases, programs allocated time
in the next semester have been executed before the current semester
has even finished!
- 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
Australian Gemini Office, ausgo -@- aao.gov.au