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Semester 2018B Call for Proposals

Gemini Observatory invites its community to propose scientific investigations for the 2018B semester, 1 August 2018 - 31 January 2019.

The submission deadline varies with participant. Multi-participant joint proposals should be submitted by the deadline of the participant country to which the Principal Investigator is affiliated. Proposals for exchange time on Gemini from the Subaru community are required to be submitted by March 31, 2018 at 23:59 HST (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time). An overview of the Gemini proposal submission and time allocation process is given here.

The Call is open to all participants and host institutions : Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the United States, Chile, the University of Hawaii, and Korea (under its Limited-term Collaboration MoU). US time is open to all astronomers worldwide including those at non-US institutions, although in that case the proposal must explain why U.S. national facilities are needed. The distribution of time across the partners is available in the time distribution table.

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New and Notable in 2018B!

The following capabilities and announcements are notable for the 2018B semester. Please see the relevant instrument pages and subsections of the call for proposals for details.


  • Gemini North will not be available from September 17 to September 27 2018 for the annual planned preventive maintenance.
  • Gemini South will not be available from August 20 to August 30 2018 for the annual planned preventive maintenance.
  • Subaru Telescope will not be available for a total of two weeks between October and December 2018 for telescope maintenance.
  • New Large and Long Program proposals will be accepted for observations beginning in 2018B.
  • Gemini-Subaru time exchange program - the Gemini community can now apply for Subaru Intensive programs through the Gemini Large and Long Program process for observations beginning in 2018B. See the Subaru Exchange section for details and limitations.
  • Gemini Phase I Tool (PIT) automatically adds the time for baseline calibrations to the total time requested for each target in the proposal. Please check carefully the information provided in the Phase I Submission Guidelines section below.
  • The Gemini community is eligible to propose Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) "filler" programs on Subaru in 2018B. See Other Proposal Opportunities for details. 


  • The new Gemini North  Laser Guide Star Facility (LGSF)  will be available for science in 2018B, pending the successfully commissioning of the LGSF in late 2018A. See the Summary of 2018B Gemini Capabilities section for details. 
  • GMOS South will not be available from August 1 to August 31 2018 for a planned instrument maintenance.
  • The GPI non-redundant mask (NRM) is available for science in 2018B.
  • DSSI Speckle camera will be available for science (subject to demand) as visitor instrument during the second half of 2018B (late October to early December 2018) at Gemini South.
  • Phoenix will be available for science (subject to demand) as a visitor instrument at Gemini South in 2018B.
  • 'Alopeke, a fast low-noise dual-channel and dual-plate-scale imager with speckle and wide-field modes, will be available for science (subject to demand) as a visitor instrument at Gemini North in 2018B.
  • POLISH-2, a high-precision polarimeter will be available for science (subject to demand) as a visitor instrument at Gemini North in 2018B.

Summary of 2018B Gemini Capabilities

Gemini North

Targets are generally limited to 17 < RA hours < 13.5 and -37 < DEC degrees < +90. In some cases there are additional constraints as described below and in the target accessibility and instrument restrictions page.

Gemini North annual planned preventive maintenance (telescope shutdown) is scheduled for 11 nights from Monday September 17 to Thursday September 27 2018.

The new  Laser Guide Star Facility (LGSF)  will be available for science in 2018B, pending the successfully commissioning of the LGSF in late 2018A (see Altair section below for details).

Facility instruments offered in 2018B, in queue or classical mode, are:

  • NIRI (1-5 micron imager): available throughout the semester.  NIRI is not available to new Large and Long Program proposals.

  • Altair (facility Adaptive Optics system): available with NIFS, GNIRS and NIRI (except M-band). The new Laser Guide Star Facility (LGSF) is expected to be commissioned in late 2018A. Proposals including the use of the new LGSF are accepted for 2018B, but carry the risk that will not accepted if there are issues with the commissioning of the new LGSF. The Laser Guide Star AO is available in queue mode only. Targets are limited to RA 18h to 12.5h and Dec -27° to +68°.  Please be aware of current observational limitations and overheads to the LGS+P1 "super-seeing" mode. Investigators should refer to the Status and Availability page for the most up to date information about the new LGSF.  

Visitor instruments offered in 2018B (subject to demand) are:

  • 'Alopeke (new generation Speckle camera): a dual-channel visual-wavelength camera providing both diffraction limited and wide-field imaging capabilities with standard Sloan Digital Sky Survey filters. The instrument will be available for science in 2018B. The scheduling and length of the entire 'Alopeke visitor block(s) will be subject to community demand.

  • GRACES: a high-resolution, R~67,500, optical (0.4-1 micron) spectrometer. Scheduled blocks to be determined with CFHT (where the instrument resides), based on demand.

  • POLISH-2: the high-precision visitor polarimeter, will be available for science at Gemini North in 2018B. The instrument is open to the community via collaborative proposals with the PI. If you are interested in obtaining data in the 2018B semester with this instrument, you must contact the PI (Sloane Wiktorowicz - sloane.j.wiktorowicz at aero.org). For more details of the instrument itself, consult the following publications: Wiktorowicz & Matthews 2008, PASP, 120, 1282, Wiktorowicz & Lofi 2015, ApJL, 800, L1. In 2016B, it was found that for stars brighter than B = 6 mag, precision of around 10 parts per million requires about 10 minutes of observing time. However, due to the large intrinsic telescope polarization of 0.4%, accuracy at [ the 10 part per million ] level has not been demonstrated at the time of this call for proposals.

  • Visitor instruments are NOT available in Classical mode.

Gemini South

Targets are generally limited to 16 < RA hours < 12 and -90° < dec < +28°. In some cases there are additional constraints as described in the target accessibility and instrument restrictions page.

Gemini South annual planned preventive maintenance (telescope shutdown) is scheduled for 11 nights from Monday August 20 to Thursday August 30 2018.

Facility instruments offered in 2018B, in queue or classical mode, are:

  • GSAOI (0.9-2.4 micron adaptive optics imager) with the GeMS Adaptive Optics system: Due to important guide star limitations, investigators must check the availability of Guide Star constellations using the Observing Tool before submitting a proposal. Observations in IQ85 are possible for programs that can use delivered images with full-width half-maximum of ~0.2 arcseconds as opposed to the ≤ 0.1 arcseconds delivered in IQ70 or IQ20 conditions. Proposals requesting IQ85 constraints are encouraged. For limited-term collaborator Korea, the instrument is available in classical mode within the scheduled blocks. It is expected that more than two GSAOI/GeMS blocks will be scheduled in 2018B. The scheduling and final number of blocks will take into account the demand from the community.

Visitor instruments offered in 2018B(subject to demand) are:

  • DSSI Speckle camera: a dual-channel visual-wavelength camera giving simultaneous diffraction limited images in two filters over a 2.8 arcsec field of view. Available between late October and early December 2018. Targets are limited to 21h < RA < 12h. The scheduling and length of the DSSI visitor block(s) will be subject to community demand and instrument availability.

  • Phoenix: A high-resolution (R ~50,000 - 80,000), near IR (1-5 micron) echelle spectrometer. The scheduling and length of the Phoenix visitor block(s) will be subject to community demand and instrument availability. An ITC is available on the NOAO Phoenix webpage.

  • Visitor instruments are NOT available in Classical mode.

Large and Long Programs

Large and long Programs (LLPs) are Principal Investigator-defined and -driven programs that are expected to require either significantly more time than a partner typically approves for a single program, or extends over two to six semesters, or both. The participating partners (US and Canada) will pool up to 20% of their time at each telescope available for LLPs over each of the next 6 semesters from the start of LLP execution in 2018B. Principal Investigators of LLPs must be based at an institution of one of the participating partner countries. Investigators submitting Proposals for LLPs, to begin execution in 2018B, must have already submitted a letter of intent prior to the February 2nd, 2018, deadline. Further information on LLPs and the LLP proposal process can be found on the Large And Long Program page. Information on previously accepted LLPs and their science programs is available here.

Important Dates for 2018B

The deadline for Phase I submission varies with participant. For successful proposals, both queue and classical, the Phase II submission deadline is 18 of July 2018. Check the 2018B schedule for key dates and events in the proposal process .

Phase I Submission Guidelines for 2018B

Proposals for time on Gemini, and for time on Subaru via the Gemini-Subaru time exchange program, must use the Gemini Phase I Tool (PIT). Latex and Word templates are available to create a pdf attachment which includes the science and technical cases. See the PIT page for installation information and the PIT help pages for assistance. Investigators proposing for facility instruments are requested to include the output from the integration time calculators in the proposal. Investigators proposing for POLISH-2 visitor instrument must use the generic Visitor instrument option in the PIT resource list.

Note that, following the Board resolution 2016.A.2, the time for baseline partner calibrations for the Gemini facility instruments and the named visitor instruments (DSSI, TEXES, Phoenix, 'Alopeke) are now automatically added to the total time requested for each target in the PIT. Investigators should continue to include the time associated to overheads (acquisition time, readout time, etc) in the total time estimated for each target in the PIT. See the Observing Section in the PIT help pages for details.

Time Available in 2018B

The time available for each participant and host institution in 2018B is shown on the time distribution page. At Gemini North, ~166 nights are expected to be available for science. At Gemini South, ~160 nights are expected to be available for science.

Limited-Term Collaborations

Proposals from Korea are accepted under Limited-Term Collaborations with Gemini Observatory. Proposals with PIs from limited-term collaborations are not eligible for joint proposals or Subaru Exchange time. Additionally, for PIs from limited-term collaborations, access to block-scheduled instruments is subject to scheduling constraints, and not guaranteed, irrespective of science rank. The block-scheduled instruments are GeMS/GSAOI, GRACES, DSSI, 'ALOPEKE, Phoenix, and POLISH-2.

Subaru Exchange Time

The exchange of time between the Gemini and Subaru communities will continue in 2018B. Gemini and Subaru expect to be able to exchange a minimum of 5 nights in semester 2018B. Note that additional nights may be allocated on Subaru in 2018B in benefit of the Gemini community. PIs from the Gemini community are strongly encourage to propose for observations on Subaru.

Relevant information:

  • PIs in the Gemini community who intend to use the Subaru telescope are asked to apply through the time-exchange program and not through the open use Subaru Call. Regular proposals should be submitted via the normal Gemini Phase I process.

  • PIs from Large and Long Programs (LLP) participating partners are invited to submit proposals for Subaru Intensive programs to Gemini through the Gemini-Subaru time exchange program for observations beginning in 2018B. Subaru Intensive programs applications follow the same rules and eligibility used for the Gemini Large and Long Programs (LLPs). Investigator must use the Gemini Phase I tool with "Proposal class: Intensive Program Observed at Subaru" for creating and submitting Subaru Intensive programs and the Latex and Word templates for LLPs to create a pdf attachment with the science and technical cases. The request of Subaru Intensive program must be clearly stated in the title of the proposal. At most, one proposal will be selected for observations beginning in 2018B. Subaru reserves the right to reject this program if it cannot be reasonably accommodated in the Subaru schedule.

  • Limited-term collaborators are not eligible for the Gemini-Subaru time exchange program.

  • Gemini community PIs can now propose for Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) queue observations (preferred mode of observation). In the "queue" mode, PIs have to consider that 1 night = 7 hours of on-source integration (Subaru rules). It is still possible to request HSC "classical" time. In the case of "classical", it should be noted that it takes ~30 minutes for changing filters.

  • Subaru can accept small size programs (e.g. 2 - 3 hours) for those proposals requesting time with HSC in queue mode only. For any other instrument, Subaru time must to be requested in integer nights, however for Gemini participants with a small time share, half night allocations may be possible if a suitable program can be found for the other half night. The runs on Subaru will be evenly distributed across dark, grey and bright nights.

Facility instruments offered in 2018B:

Visitor instruments offered in 2018B (limited to one or two runs):

  • CHARIS: Coronagraphic High Angular Resolution Imaging Spectrograph - provides high contrast images of exoplanets, disks, brown dwarfs with SCExAO+AO188.

  • SCExAO: Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics - delivers high contrast images of the innermost surrounding of bright sources to CHARIS. The VAMPIRES module in SCExAO is also available for science observations in 2018B.

  • IRD - Infrared Doppler: infrared high-dispersion, high resolution (up to 70,000) fiber-fed spectrometer. IRD provides high spectral resolution echelle spectroscopy and radial velocity measurements from 0.97 to 1.75 um simultaneously combined with AO188.

  • Observing proposals using the visiting instruments must include the relevant instrument PIs as a Co-investigators.

Priority Visitor Observing Mode

In Priority Visitor Observing, a visiting observer comes to the Observatory for a block exceeding their program's time allocation, and elects when to carry out their program within that block. This may be when conditions are within their requirement, better than their requirement or even fail to meet their requirement. If time remains on the program after the observing time is complete, the program carries on in the regular queue with priority given by the TAC-assigned science ranking band. When not executing their own program the visiting observer will execute other Gemini queue observations. PV observing mode is offered as a possibility for band 1 queue programs in 2018B. Investigators wishing to have their program considered for PV observing should indicate their desire to participate in the Technical Design portion of their 2018B queue proposal.

Other Proposal Opportunities in 2018B

Other proposal opportunities are available at Gemini Observatory in 2018B. These include:

  • The Fast Turnaround (FT) Program provides monthly opportunities to submit proposals, with successful programs scheduled for observation starting one month after each proposal deadline. Up to 10% of the time at Gemini North and Gemini South is available for the FT programs.

  • Poor Weather Proposals are solicited for programs that can use poor, but usable, conditions and are executed when nothing in the regular queue is observable. Proposals can be submitted via the normal TAC process (this call) or at any time.

  • For Semester 2018B, the Gemini community is also eligible to propose HyperSuprimeCam (HSC) filler programs on Subaru. Filler programs are executed in poor observing conditions (typically seeing >1.5 arcseconds, and/or poor transparency). Execution is not guaranteed: observations are made only when there is no other program in the HSC queue. In recent semesters, typically of order 15% of HSC time has gone to filler programs. Applications may be submitted once per semester, the next deadline for filler proposals being April 5th 3:00 (UT). Proposals must be sent through the Subaru submission system (NOT Gemini), and are considered only by the Subaru TAC. Note that only a short text summary of the program is required, not a full detailed Science Justification.

Bring One, Get One: Travel Assistance Program

The Gemini Observatory, at the request of its Users' Committee, would like to strongly encourage the visit of students, and other early-career observers, to observing runs (attending Queue, Classical, or Priority Visiting Observing). In semester 2018B, the Gemini Observatory may subsidize with up to US$2000 the travel expenses of individual under- and graduate students, and other early career observers, visiting Gemini North or South, when accompanying a senior observer. The "Bring One, Get One" Student Observer Support Program" page has full details on this program. This program is subject to the availability of limited funds.

Remote Eavesdropping

Remote Eavesdropping will be available in 2018B for all queue programs. Investigators will be invited to sign up for eavesdropping via the PI email announcing they have been granted time.

Data Rights, Proprietary periods and Data Distribution

The data taken with the Gemini telescopes is the property of the Gemini Observatory. Principal investigators of Gemini regular programs (Queue/Classical/Poor Weather) have exclusive access to the data for their program for a period of 12 months. After the proprietary period the data are publicly available. See the page Data Rights and Proprietary Periods for more information.

All data, including raw and available processed data, obtained with the Gemini telescope are distributed exclusively through the Gemini Observatory Archive. More information about the data distribution is given here.

Supporting information to the Call for Proposals

Relevant general information related to the applications for time on Gemini Telescopes is presented in the supporting information page. Consult there for the following:

  • Time Allocation Process (National and International Time Allocation Committees)
  • Submitting for time on both telescopes
  • Queue Rollover
  • Electronic PIT Submission
  • Joint Proposals
  • Under-utilized Instruments
  • Rapid Response or Target of Opportunity
  • GMOS Mask definitions
  • Poor Weather Programs
  • Exchange Time
  • Target information (guide stars, non-sidereal objects, time-specific observations)
  • Duplicate Observations

Prospective users should also refer to the target and instrument accessibility page, and the instrument pages for detailed and up to date information on instrumentation.

Questions and Answers

All questions concerning proposals, or any other subject, should be made using the Gemini HelpDesk. This web-based system will send the request to your National Gemini Office staff in the first instance who will escalate it to Gemini staff if necessary.

Comments and suggestions on the format and content of this page and supporting pages are welcome, and should be sent to Rodrigo Carrasco.

Gemini Observatory Participants