Call for Proposals: UC time on the Keck telescopes
Semester 2023B (Aug. 1, 2023 through Jan 31, 2024)
Deadline: Proposals are due on Thursday, Mar. 16, 2023 by 5:00pm PT
1.1 Due Date
Proposals for UC observing time on the Keck Telescopes for Semester 2023B are due by 5:00 pm PDT on Thursday, March 16th, 2023. There will be 56.0 nights available on K1 and 55.0 nights available on K2 spread evenly across the semester and lunar phase. There are 7 one-hour Partnership ToO interrupts available. A PI may ask for a larger number of UC-time only ToO interrupts as well.
1.2 Proposal Process
NOTE: PIs should generally ask for only the number of nights (or portions of nights) needed to complete their experiment and be sure to fill out and update the cover sheet with the number of nights needed to complete the experiment beyond this request. If your experiment has a compelling reason to include extra time (such as weather losses) be sure to explain this clearly in Section 2.1 of the proposal.
Since the weather losses at Keck are typically low and rare, the PIs should request for only the time they need to complete their experiment. However, if the PI has a compelling argument about why they must inflate their request by the weather losses (such as sharing the weather losses across several programs in a mini-queue) then the PI could make an argument for its inclusion for the TAC to consider.
The principal consideration in evaluating proposals will be the scientiﬁc merit of the proposed project. Projects that take maximum advantage of the unique capabilities of the Keck Telescopes will be given high weight. A brief description should be given of backup programs that will be carried out if conditions are not suitable for the primary program. Please see https://www.ucobservatories.org/observatory/keck-observatory/keck-proposal-instructions/ which describes the UC online proposal submission process, and https://www.ucobservatories.org/observatory/keck-observatory/keck-proposal-guidelines/ which describes the required sections and their page limits. The Time Allocation Committees take page limits very seriously, so please pay close attention as you draft your proposal.
Keck is continuing the login-password system to allow you to retrieve and modify your coversheets. Returning observers should use the same account information as last semester. New observers may request an account from the page http://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/PILogin/login.php
The coversheet form is available through the login page link above. Once you have created a coversheet and you are logged in, please go to the instructions for submitting Keck proposals at: https://spg.ucolick.org/cgi-bin/TAC/login.cgi to create the rest of your proposal as a PDF file to upload to the UC proposal server. Note that the coversheet has been modified again this semester, so please pay close attention when filling it out.
You may use the extra page allocated to the project update if this is a resubmission to respond to the previous TAC comments, even if the previous submission was unsuccessful. It would be useful to mention the previous proposal title (if different), PI (if different) and proposal number.
1.3 Be Kind to your TAC Members
Please read the page limits carefully on the keck-guidelines web page (https://www.ucobservatories.org/observatory/keck-observatory/keck-proposal-guidelines/) and adhere to them. TAC members will be instructed to stop reading any text beyond the stated page limits. Note that the text format is 12 point font; single-spaced; one-inch margins.
Although there is not a formal limit on the number of Keck proposals that one PI can submit, experience has shown that TAC members view one PI submitting numerous proposals as a real burden on the reviewing process; it generally does not increase the odds of a PI getting Keck time. Please use moderation.
1.4 Time Domain Astronomy (TDA)
Observers will continue to have the ability to propose both Target of Opportunity (ToO) and Cadence programs using the Keck Cover Sheet. Keck policies related to Target of Opportunity (ToO) and Cadence proposals can be found at https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/common/Keck_TDA_ToO_policy_SSC_Approved.pdf and https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/common/Keck_TDA_Cadence_policy_SSC_Approved.pdf.
If your project involves both Classical and TDA observing, you MUST put in two separate cover sheets so that the Keck TDA software can clearly distinguish between the two. Instead of submitting the same text twice, please submit the actual proposal text under the Classical cover sheet; the text submitted under the TDA (ToO or Cadence) cover sheet should merely include the proposal title, PI, and proposal number, together with a sentence stating that the main text can be found under the proposal number of the Classical cover sheet. The Cover Sheet form will not let you submit one proposal requesting both Classical and TDA observing time.
For Semester 2023B, two types of ToO requests can be made. TAC- approved ToO projects which are able to interrupt observers at any of the four institutions, to increase the utility of the ToO process. These are called Partnership ToO proposals. There is a limit to the number of Partnership ToO interrupts. The second kind of TAC approved ToO program (Institutional) can only interrupt UC programs. Note that there is not a limit to the number of “Institutional” ToO interrupts of fellow UC observers. But because UC nights are only a fraction of the total available Keck nights, the probability of a successful ToO interrupt using UC time alone is smaller than for Partnership ToOs. Also note that UC Institutional ToO time can be interrupted by a Partnership ToO, so think through your strategy carefully. Both Partnership and Institutional ToO interrupts are counted in full 1 hour increments even if less than 1 hour of time is used. All ToO proposal requests should be made in units of 1 hour interrupts.
In 2023B, partial-night observations can be interrupted. The Keck guidelines state that “Individual TACs may designate a few nights (partial or whole) as exempt from ToO interrupts. This designation must be scientiﬁcally motivated, namely that such interruptions would seriously compromise the scientiﬁc return of the entire observing time. Proposers should make any such requests to their individual TACs as part of their observing proposal. Use of these exemptions is expected to be rare.” So if you think your project deserves, for scientiﬁc reasons, to have one of these rare exemptions from interruptions, please state so in your proposal and give a very strong justiﬁcation for your request.
1.5 Cadence Observations
Keck’s policies for Cadence observing (https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/common/Keck_TDA_Cadence_policy_SSC_Approved.pdf) are reasonably complicated. These include a new category called “Partnership Snapshot” observatories. If you are contemplating applying for Cadence time, please read the guidelines carefully.
Keck continues to reconcile cross-institutional cadence and ToO allocations. Scheduled cadence time is returned to the institution at a one to one rate, and ToO time is returned at a rate of two hours for every one hour interruption because the ToO PI will not choose to call for a trigger if the weather is unacceptable.
1.6 Twilight Cadence Observations
In 2023B, institutions will continue to be able to allocate one twilight observing program per telescope, for a total of up to two programs. On Keck I, OSIRIS-NGS (imager only) will be available, and on Keck II, NIRC2-NGS will be available. Please note that due to ongoing AO upgrades, there will be times in the semester when AO is unavailable for cadence observations (see above). Cadence program PIs are responsible for development of instrument scripts, providing documentation, and training of staff needed to make the cadence program a turnkey operation.
1.7 Large Multi-Year Projects
UC LMAP observing projects with well-deﬁned scientific objectives that require a large number of nights to bring to completion (normally 10 or more nights per semester). The UC LMAP program allows projects extending for more than one semester to be carried out with multi-year approval from the beginning. LMAPs should generally be directed toward obtaining a high quality, coherent, homogeneous data set that will allow scientific questions of major importance to be addressed in a thorough, systematic manner. Please consult https://www.ucobservatories.org/observatory/keck-observatory/keck-telescope-time-for-lmap-proposals/ for current policies regarding LMAPs.
1.8 At-Home (pajama mode) Observing
- At-Home observing will continue to be available to observers
- At home observing requires the installation of software which only runs on linux and macOS operating systems.
- Observers using at home observing should plan to work with Keck staff to install and test the software several days ahead of their run to allow time for troubleshooting. Please see https://keckobservatory.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/MOSD/overview for information about remote observing, including at-home observing.
2.0 Notes on Instruments and Availability
See the following web page for detailed notes on the availability of instruments for 2023B: https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/observing/instavail.html.
SPECIAL NOTES AND CONSIDERATIONS FOR 2023B:
Keck I Telescope: There will be a 10 night shutdown occurring in the late October bright lunation in order to conduct repair work on the Keck I telescope pier.
Keck I Time Requests: We anticipate quarter night requests for KPF observations throughout the semester and encourage all other Keck I PIs to consider proposing for 0.75 time allocations if this is feasible for their target visibility.
LRIS: LRIS will be unavailable in August and September while mechanical components of the instrument are being refurbished.
KPF: Keck Planet Finder will be available for regular use throughout the semester. Documentation of KPF can be found at https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/realpublic/inst/kpf/
Keck I AO: Keck I AO (Osiris) may require periods of downtime in 23B to help facilitate KAPA work. Observing programs may be shifted into their acceptable observing periods to provide time for this work.
Keck II AO: Keck II AO (Nirc2, Nirspao) will be unavailable from mid-August until late November to complete the upgrade to a real time controller.
KCWI: KCWI, with the red channel upgrade, KCRM, will be available throughout the semester, with shared-risk status in the months of August and September. For more information on the red channel, please see https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/kcwi/configurations.html
DEIMOS: Deimos will require a 3 week period of downtime for mechanical work on the image rotator. Observing programs may be shifted into their acceptable observing periods to provide a window for this work. Please note that the Deimos CCD5 is noisier than the rest of the CCDs in the detector mosaic. Please see https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/deimos/detector_issues.html for the latest status.
KPIC: KPIC will not be available in 23B.
NIRSPEC/NIRSPAO: Please note that Nirspec and Nirspao nights may be scheduled in campaign mode to limit the number of reconfigs into AO during the semester.
- The vortex coronagraph in LGS mode is not available.
- The vortex coronagraph with the PyWFS will only be available after the KII AO shutdown.
Please, see the NIRC2 manual (https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/nirc2/ObserversManual.html#Section5.2.2) for information about vortex operations.
SUBARU exchange: The SUBARU-KECK exchange will continue as in previous semesters with flexibility as to the number of nights available for exchange. The number of exchanged nights will be determined based on the demand from each community. Keck will offer LRIS, HIRES, OSIRIS, KPF, and MOSFIRE on Keck I, and DEIMOS, ESI, KCWI, NIRSPEC/NIRSPAO, NIRES, and NIRC2 on Keck II. Subaru will offer facility instruments Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC), HDS, IRCS, MOIRCS, and FOCAS, as well as visiting instruments IRD, CHARIS + SCExAO, VAMPIRES, REACH, Fast PDI, MEC, and NsIR. Note that PIs must contact the instrument PI for visiting instruments in advance. Subaru may support half night allocations, but whole night allocations are preferred. Queue observing is the default observing mode for HSC, applicants who desire classical mode must justify their request. Please check the HSC queue mode website https://www.naoj.org/Observing/queue/index.html for more details.
Notes regarding Subaru facility and instrument availability in 23B:
– There will be 1-2 weeks of downtime (most likely in November and January) to replace the telescope chillers.
– TUE2 (Top-Unit-Exchange 2) repair work is planned from 2023.10.11 to 2024.01.05. In this period, 1) only IR secondary mirror is available. 2) HSC and FOCAS are NOT available. 3) HDS observation is limited to V < 17 mag and l > 3500 A.
– There will be at maximum two or three HSC observing runs in S23B (in August, September, and January). No HSC run is scheduled between October and December due to the Top Unit Exchanger overhaul.
– As usual, all proposals using PI-type instruments must include relevant instruments PIs. CHARIS, FastPDI, VAMPIRES, and MEC can be used together at the same time as the modules of SCExAO. For all information on available PI type instruments, see https://subarutelescope.org/Observing/Proposals/call.html
– LGS + AO188 will be operated with TBAD with a shared-risk policy in S23B.