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Semester 2018A Call for Proposals

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Gemini Observatory invites its community to propose scientific investigations for the 2018A semester, 1 February 2018 - 31 July 2018.

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 September 30, 2017 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 2018A!

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


  • 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 2018A. See Other Proposal Opportunities for details.


  • The Gemini North Laser Guide Star (LGS) system is not offered for regular programs in 2018A.
  • GMOS South will not be available for 6 weeks at the end of 2018A for a planned instrument maintenance.
  • The GPI non-redundant mask (NRM) is available for science in 2018A.
  • FLAMINGOS-2 new medium K-band filters are available for science in 2018A. Filters Y and J-lo are not available in 2018A.
  • The TEXES visitor instrument will be available (subject to demand) during late-June or July in 2018A at Gemini North.
  • The DSSI Speckle camera visitor instrument will be available for science (subject to demand) during the first half of 2018A at Gemini South.
  • ALOPEKE, a new generation Speckle camera visitor instrument, will be available for science (subject to demand) during 2018A at Gemini North.
  • IGRINS, a high-resolution near IR echelle spectrometer visitor instrument will be available for science during the second half of 2018A at Gemini South.
  • POLISH-2, a high-precision polarimeter will be available (subject to demand) as a visitor instrument at Gemini North in 2018A.

Summary of 2018A Gemini Capabilities

Gemini North

Targets are generally limited to 4 < RA hours < 1 and -37 < DEC degrees < +90. In some cases there are additional constraints as described below and in the target accessibility and instrument restrictions page.

The Gemini North Laser Guide Star (LGS) system is not offered for regular programs in 2018A.

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

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

  • TEXES: a high resolution (R ~4,000-100,000) mid-infrared (5-25 micron) spectrometer. Available in bright time during late-June or July, depending on demand. Targets are limited to 14h < RA < 1h.
  • 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. ALOPEKE is expected to be commissioned in October 2017. The instrument will be available for science in 2018A. 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 2018A. The instrument is open to the community via collaborative proposals with the PI. If you are interested in obtaining data in the 2018A 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 5 < RA hours < 2 and -90° < dec < +28°. In some cases there are additional constraints as described in the target accessibility and instrument restrictions page.

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

  • GMOS South (0.36-1.03 micron imager and spectrometer):. Not available for 6 weeks at the end of 2018A for a planned instrument maintenance. Targets with 12 < RA hours < 00 will have reduced accessibility. Investigators should use the Hamamatsu CCD option when using the GMOS-S ITC. The R600 grating is available to classical programs only.
  • GPI (Adaptive Optics 0.9-2.4 micron imaging/polarimeter/integral-field spectrometer): offered throughout the semester. The best performance of GPI is reached under CC50 and IQ70 observing conditions, and to a maximum Zenith angle of 50 degrees. The use of IQ85, CC70 and CC80 observing conditions may be possible, but the performance is highly variable and stated performance can not be guaranteed. Please also note the special GPI target duplication policy. The non-redundant mask (NRM) is offered for science in 2018A
  • FLAMINGOS-2 (0.9-2.4 micron wide-field imager and spectrometer): offered in imaging and long-slit modes throughout the semester. The MOS mode will not be available in 2018A. Two new medium K-band filters are available for science observations in 2018A. Investigators should refer to the instrument status page for the most up to date information on delivered image quality, spectral resolution and the new filters installation and characterization.
  • 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 two GSAOI/GeMS blocks will be scheduled in 2018A (February and March bright periods). The scheduling and final number of blocks will take into account the demand from the community.

Visitor instruments offered in 2018A (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 February and April 2018. Targets are limited to 5 < RA hours < 20. The scheduling and length of the DSSI visitor block(s) will be subject to community demand and instrument availability.
  • IGRINS (Immersion Grating Infrared Spectrometer). A high-resolution (R~45,000), single-setting, near IR (1.45 - 2.5 microns) echelle spectrometer. IGRINS was built in a partnership between the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI) and the University of Texas at Austin. The instrument will be available between April and July 2018. The scheduling and length of the IGRINS visitor block(s) will be subject to community demand and instrument availability. Targets are limited to 8 < RA hours < 2h.
  • Visitor instruments are NOT available in Classical mode.

Important Dates for 2018A

The deadline for Phase I submission varies with participant. For successful proposals, both queue and classical, the Phase II submission deadline is 17 January 2018. Check the 2018A schedule for key dates and events in the proposal process .

Phase I Submission Guidelines for 2018A

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 ALOPEKE, IGRINS and POLISH-2 visitor instruments must use the generic Visitor instrument option in the PIT resource list.

In 2018A Gemini started to implement 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) 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 2018A

The time available for each participant and host institution in 2018A is shown on the time distribution page. At Gemini North, ~171 nights are expected to be available for science. At Gemini South, ~167 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, TEXES, ALOPEKE, POLISH-2 and IGRINS.

Subaru Exchange Time

The exchange of time between the Gemini and Subaru communities will continue in 2018A. Gemini expects to be able to exchange a minimum of 5 nights in semester 2018A.

Relevant information:

  • Limited-term collaborators (Korea) are not eligible for the exchange program.
  • 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.
  • Subaru can accept small size programs (e.g. < 0.5 nights) for those proposals requesting time with Hyper Suprime-Cam (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.
  • See the Subaru Call for Proposals for relevant information.

Facility instruments offered in 2018A:

Visitor instruments offered in 2018A (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 2018A. Note that HiCIAO has been decommissioned and is NOT available im 2018A.
  • 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 2018A. Investigators wishing to have their program considered for PV observing should indicate their desire to participate in the Technical Design portion of their 2018A queue proposal.

Other Proposal Opportunities in 2018A

Other proposal opportunities are available at Gemini Observatory in 2018A. 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.
  • Director's Discretionary Time is open to any astronomer worldwide and proposals can be submitted at any time.
  • 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.
  • From Semester 2018A, the Gemini community is also eligible to propose HyperSuprimeCam (HSC) filler programs on Subaru. Filler programs are executed in poor observing conditions (typically seeing >1.2 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 October 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 2018A, 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 2018A 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 Science 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