Call for Proposals on the Gemini Telescopes

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Australian Access to the Gemini Telescopes

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 2016A?

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.

Gemini North

The instruments available on Gemini North are:

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.

Gemini South

The instruments available on Gemini South are:

Available Time

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.

Classical Observing with Gemini

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.

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 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 -@- - 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.

Need Help?

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 -@-