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Australian Access to the Magellan Telescopes

Proposals for Australian Magellan time in Semester 2016A have now closed. We will begin accepting proposals for Semester 2016B from mid-March 2016.

Submitting a Proposal

The International Telescopes Support Office uses the AAO's Lens proposal submission system for Magellan proposals, similar to the AAT proposal submission system. Proposal preparation uses a web-based form to complete the cover sheet, followed by uploading of a separate science case and a target list as PDF files.

Lens is an account-based system with user registration. All investigators on an ATAC proposal for the AAT or Magellan must be registered with the system. Users who have applied for AAT or Magellan time as PI since Semester 2013A have had accounts pre-configured, and should already have their login details. Please ask any collaborators not currently shown in Lens to register well in advance of the proposal deadline. Note that while Lens has been rigourously tested, it is possible that you may find a bug or problem that we haven't seen before. Please email us with any bug reports, after checking the list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Magellan Instrumentation

An overview and documentation for current Magellan instrumentation can be found at the LCO Magellan page. More information, including future instruments for Magellan, can be found on the Magellan Technical pages.

Instruments Available in Semester 2016A

There will likely be a single MegaCam f/5 block in Mar/Apr 2016 (depending on the RA range of accepted proposals), as well as a single adaptive optics MagAO run of about 25 nights in Feb/Mar 2016. Between 30 and 50% of the MagAO nights are reserved for the University of Arizona, with the remaining nights distributed by Magellan shares. Note that whenever either the wide-field f/5, or the AO adaptive secondary mirror are mounted on the Clay telescope, none of the f/11 instruments (MIKE, MagE, LDSS3, PFS, M2FS) are available.

The minimum run length that can be requested is half a night. One or more first- or second-half nights with any Magellan instrument may be requested, but scheduling will be dependent on identifying a suitable program from Australia or a Magellan partner which can use the remainder of each night. Alternatively one can request that their allocation be folded into a larger block of instrument team time (e.g. with PFS, M2FS, or MagAO) so as to optimise the time coverage required.

Available Time

Australia will notionally have eight nights total on Magellan to allocate in Semester 2016A. The exact nights, and the split between telescopes and dark/grey/bright time will be decided after ATAC has met, in negotiation with the Magellan Scheduler. Once the time assignment commmittees of all the Magellan partners have met, some horse-trading may become necessary as we all try to get the nights that best suit the science of our highest ranked proposals. So please note in your proposal both your ideal conditions/set-up, and fall-back options, so that we can do this trading in an informed way. In particular, note that demand for the instruments on Clay has recently greatly exceeded that for the Baade, so you may wish to consider whether your program might still be possible using a different instrument (e.g. IMACS instead of MagE).

So as not to inadvertently preclude high-impact science that can be done in a short time, the previous two-night minimum length on time requests has been reduced to half a night. Scheduling proposals for a non-integer number of nights will still be subject to the Magellan Scheduler being able to identify programs from across the Magellan partnership that can make use of the remainder of the night(s). Applicants seeking less than 2 nights are encouraged to seek out and nominate other proposals (possibly with another Magellan partner) to share the observing time with. ATAC welcomes more ambitious Magellan proposals seeking substantial fractions of Australian time, as well as large programs seeking time jointly with other Magellan partners.

Note that this is "classical" observing time - someone will need to go to the telescope to carry out the observations. At least one of the people going to the telescope should be an experienced observer, as only limited technical support is provided by Las Campanas Observatory. You will need to arrive early to familiarise yourself with the telescopes and instruments. Policies for reimbursement of travel costs are specified below.

While remote observing is not yet offered at Magellan, "remote eavesdropping" is an option for collaborators who may not be able to travel to Chile, but would still like to be an active participant in the observing. At least one experienced observer will still need to travel to the telescope, but others can join in via Skype and view instrument or data reduction displays with the "Share screens" option. Currently bandwidth limitations preclude transferring raw data files, or X-displays via ssh or VNC from Chile to Australia. If you would be interested in the remote eavesdropping option then please contact Francesco Di Mille.

Observer Travel to Chile or Hawaii

The AAO and AAL have secured funds from the Federal government's Department of Industry and Science to ensure that Australian recipients of Magellan, Gemini classical nights, or DECam time-exchange from any institution in Australia awarded observing time by ATAC are able to take up that opportunity.

As soon as you are informed of your observing time allocation, please consult the relevant Visiting Observers Guide:

It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator on each proposal to coordinate their travel and accommodation arrangements directly with the facility they will be visiting. ITSO cannot make any such arrangements on the observer's behalf.

The following policies apply to the reimbursement of observer travel expenses:

  1. The observer must be affiliated with an Australian university or research organisation.
  2. The AAO will pay the costs for one qualified observer per scheduled program. If a student is PI on the scheduled proposal, and has had no prior observing experience, then the AAO will pay the costs for both the student and their supervisor (or a suitably qualified designate) as Magellan in particular require that observers will be experienced and self-sufficient. Observers who wish to bring a student along with them for the experience are welcome to do so, but in that case the AAO will not pay for any costs incurred by the student.
  3. The AAO will reimburse the cost of lowest available economy-class airfares from the observer's home city in Australia to La Serena or Hilo; hotel/motel expenses in Sydney, Santiago, La Serena, Honolulu, or Hilo; meals and incidentals; transport to/from airports in Australia, Chile, and Hawaii; room, board, and transport costs at Las Campanas Observatory, Cerro Pachon, Cerro Tololo, or Mauna Kea; and reasonable expenses associated with this travel (e.g. Chilean visa reciprocity fee, US visa waiver fee, costs of cutting slit masks, etc.).
  4. To be eligible for reimbursement, the observer (and their supervisor if they are a student) must provide fare quotes for approval by the International Telescopes Support Office (itso -@- prior to purchasing their tickets. The AAO reserves the right not to reimburse the full cost of items it considers unreasonable, or not associated with observing travel.
  5. The AAO will reimburse the observer's institution on receipt of an invoice addressed to the International Telescopes Support Office, together with copies of receipts for all costs being claimed. The GST component of costs incurred within Australia may be claimed (no GST is payable on costs incurred in Chile, the USA, or on international airfares); however an institution may not claim an additional 10% GST component on top of the total GST-inclusive costs. Reimbursement of will also be contingent upon confirmation that the relevant observer report form has been completed:

Indicative costs are:

We strongly recommend observers purchase the local part of the trip in conjunction with the international part. If some delay occurs (and they often do!), LAN/Qantas/Hawaiian should take care of rearranging flights, overnight hotel in Santiago/Honolulu, etc. You will be expected to pay costs before departure from Las Campanas/La Serena/Hilo. Payment can be made in cash or by credit card.

Reciprocity fee: Citizens of Australia, Mexico, or Albania are required to pay a "reciprocity fee" on arrival at Santiago airport prior to passport control. This fee is at least US$117 for Australians, can be paid by credit card, and is valid for 90 days.

WARNING! If you travel to Chile on LAN via Auckland, you may be required to obtain a transit visa for New Zealand, even if you are not planning to leave the departure gate area. Australian citizens and permanent residents do not require a transit visa, nor do citizens of countries for which a visa waiver applies. Please check visa requirements before departure, or else you may not be allowed to board the flight in Sydney and you risk missing your observing run altogether.


In 2006, the Australian Astronomy Board of Management used funds from the Major National Research Facilities scheme (the predecessor of NCRIS) to purchase 30 nights of time (7 or 8 nights each semester) at the twin Magellan 6.5m telescopes in Chile in calendar years 2007 and 2008. The Magellan instruments provide complementary capabilities to Gemini instruments; a comprehensive overview of the various instruments, available modes, detectors, wavelength ranges, etc. is available. These nights are available to all Australian astronomers through the Australian Time Assignment Committee (ATAC). Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL) and the Magellan Council agreed to extend the 15 nights per year access arrangement, in concert with the Magellan Fellowship program, through to mid-2011 using ANSOC funds. AAL and the Carnegie Institution for Science signed a further extension of this agreement through until mid-2013 (but without the Magellan Fellowship component) by using unspent Aspen instrumentation funds and drawing down part of the Overseas Optical Reserve. CRIS and NCRIS-2013 funds have enabled AAL to extend this agreement through until the end of Semester 2017B.

Previous Magellan Time Allocations

Magellan Telescope schedules








2012B: 2012A: 2011B: 2011A: 2010B: 2010A: 2009B: 2009A: 2008B: 2008A: 2007B: 2007A:

Need Help?

For general enquiries concerning Australian access to Magellan, please contact the International Telescopes Support Office (itso -@-

International Telescopes Support Office, itso -@-