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Triplespec4 ARCoIRIS

Telescopes and Instruments for 2016A

Observing time at the facilities available through the National Optical Astronomy Observatory is allocated via peer review twice a year. Proposals must be received by Wednesday, 30 September 2015 for the upcoming 2016A semester (February through July 2016). All proposals are due the evening of the due date by midnight MST.

Please read the following sections for information on telescope and instrument availability at Gemini North and South, Subaru, AAT, CHARA, CTIO, and KPNO for the 2016A semester.

What's New on Facilities Available through NOAO

The following changes to instrumentation at all facilities available through NOAO are noted here to alert investigators preparing proposals.

Gemini North and South

The Gemini Observatory has released a Call for Proposals for 2016A. Proposers requesting Gemini time must use the Gemini Phase-I Tool (PIT).

The DSSI Speckle camera visitor instrument will be available at Gemini South.

If demand warrants, Phoenix will be available at Gemini South dur ing the second half of 2016A. Visit for the most up-to-date information.

GRACES offers high-resolution (R~67,500) optical spectroscopy between 400 and 1000 nm at Gemini North.

The TEXES visitor instrument will be available at Gemini North.

Opportunity Extended: Bring one, get one! In 2016A, Gemini Observatory will continue to subsidize, with up to US$2000, the travel expenses of individual under- and graduate students visiting Gemini North or South, when accompanying a senior observer.

Gemini-Subaru Exchange

Gemini and Subaru are continuing their time-exchange program. A desired minimum of five classically-scheduled nights will be available to the Gemini community, providing there is sufficient demand from both sides of the exchange. Please see the Gemini call for proposals for more information. Proposers requesting Subaru time must use the Gemini Phase-I Tool (PIT).

Community Access Time

AAT: Due to a time-exchange program between CTIO and the Australian Astronomical Observatory, five nights of classical observing time at the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope will be available to the community during 2016A.

CHARA: About 50 hours of service observations with the CHARA Interferometer Array at Mt. Wilson will be available to the community during calendar year 2016. All proposals are due by 30 September (even for observations that would nominally fall in 2016B).


Blanco 4-m Availability in 2016A: The Dark Energy Survey (DES) has been granted 105 nights per year over a period of five years, primarily in "B" semesters. Community access in "A" semesters will be largely unaffected. In 2016A, CTIO will be offering the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), the Cerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (COSMOS), and TripleSpec4 - Astronomy Research with the Cornell InfraRed Imaging Spectrograph (TS4 ARCoIRIS).

Block Scheduling: We currently allocate up to one night of engineering time for check-out purposes for each switch from the prime to f/8 focus and the same amount of time to switch back. Consequently, we are block scheduling use of f/8 instruments as much as possible. In doing this, we will try to satisfy the optimum date range requested in proposals, but please be as flexible as possible when specifying these and equally be sure to very clearly indicate if your proposal is time critical on the scheduling constraints line.

TripleSpec4 ARCoIRIS: The TripleSpec4 near-infrared spectrograph is currently undergoing commissioning and is being offered for regular science proposals in 2016A. See

The SOAR instrument complement and other capabilities (including remote observing) are generally unchanged from prior semesters. However, the SOAR web site has been significantly overhauled and is now located at:

The SOAR Board is discussing retiring OSIRIS, possibly as early as the end of 2015B. For near IR spectroscopy, users should consider TS4 on Blanco, which offers similar capabilities with better performance. For near IR imaging consider SPARTAN on SOAR. Proposals for OSIRIS should clearly explain why the proposed science could not be done with these instruments. Please check the SOAR web site after September 5 for possible updates. Users should not plan long-term programs with OSIRIS.

The grating complement on the Goodman spectrograph spectrograph has evolved somewhat over the last 2 years; for 2016A it will be the same as for 2015B. See the web site for the current grating complement. We also anticipate that a second camera for the spectrograph will become available before 2016A, which will incorporate a deep-depletion e2v CCD with better red performance (but somewhat inferior UV performance). Once commissioned, it will be made available to observers whose programs may benefit from it. Given the uncertainty regarding its exact performance and initial availability, observers should generally write proposals based on the current camera only, though they can indicate an interest in the red camera. Anyone who has a program that requires the red camera should contact SOAR prior to submitting a proposal.

CTIO Small Telescopes: Time on the small telescopes at CTIO will be available to NOAO users in 2016A via the usual proposal process. The telescopes are operated by the SMARTS consortium with up to 15% of time available to the NOAO community.

The 0.9m + CFCCD is available in user mode only. For more information on the 0.9m, please contact

The 1.3m + ANDICAM (dual channel optical / IR imager) is available in queue / service mode only. The 1.3-m telescope is primarily used for monitoring projects, thus programs are scheduled in non-contiguous segments of an hour or less with a limit of three hours total within any given night. The conversion from nights to hours might thus lead to inaccuracies in time requests.

Due to funding constraints, the 1.5m + CHIRON (high resolution spectrograph) will be open for observations in queue / service mode every other week beginning October 1, 2015. If you are proposing for an observation that is time critical, please note that in your proposal and we will do our best to accommodate it if awarded time.

Non-sidereal tracking is no longer supported as service or queue observing. The only option for non-sidereal is user time on the 0.9m.

Further information can be found at


Mayall: As most users of the KPNO 4-m Mayall telescope know, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) is scheduled for installation on the telescope in FY2018, and the five-year survey will commence in FY2019. In preparation for the DESI survey, approximately 110 nights in both semester 2016A and 2017A have been reserved for the Mayall z-band Legacy Survey (MzLS) for DESI targeting.  MzLS data will be public and will enable much more science than just DESI targets.  MzLS will overlap much of the SDSS footprint and will provide z-band images to a 5- sigma point-source depth of 23.0 AB mag.  In the current plan for MzLS, the "B" semesters in 2016 and 2017 will be largely unaffected.

In 2016A, short bright time blocks and a few dark nights will be available for other projects. Instruments offered at the Mayall will be KOSMOS, NEWFIRM, and at prime focus, Mosaic-3. Mosaic-3 is a new incarnation of the NOAO Mosaic imagers. It consists of four 4Kx4K, red-sensitive LBNL CCDs mounted in the Mosaic-2 Dewar. It is currently (1 September) undergoing testing in the lab in Tucson, and is scheduled for commissioning in October 2015. Once Mosaic-3 is commissioned, it will replace Mosaic-1.1. It will be available, on a shared-risk basis, for non-MzLS nights, along with KOSMOS and NEWFIRM.

KOSMOS and NEWFIRM will be scheduled in short blocks corresponding to the following dates. Note that the availability of these nights will be contingent upon the need for engineering nights on the telescope.
KOSMOS: February 20-23, May 20-21
NEWFIRM: March 21-24, April 20-22, June 18-19 Mosaic-3 will be available on all of these dates as well.

WIYN: As was the case in the 2015B, priority at the WIYN-3.5m will be given to qualifying proposals under the NN-EXPLORE program. More information on the NASA Guest Observer program can be found at

Instruments offered at WIYN are: upgraded ODI, now with a 48"x40" focal plane. Other facility instruments on offer are HYDRA, the IFUs (SparsePak, HexPak, and GradPak), WHIRC (with or without WTTM), and for NASA GO proposers, the speckle camera DSSI.

Remote Observing: KPNO offers remote observing for selected programs in 2016A. If you are interested in this opportunity, please see the requirements for observing remotely at . If you are requesting remote observing, please make a note of this in the "Scheduling constraints and non-usable dates" section that appears at the bottom of the first page of the NOAO proposal form and include any additional details in the "Technical Description" text of your observing run.

Telescope and Instrument Lists for 2016A

The following telescope/instrument/detector combinations are available in 2016A. This list is revised twice a year and is published on this web page ( .)

Instruments at Gemini Telescopes
Proposal CodeInstrument/Detector
Gemini North
GMOS-N Gemini Optical Imager, Multi-Object Spectrograph and IFU
GNIRS Gemini Near Infra-Red Spectrograph
NIFS near-IR IFU spectrograph
NIRI Near-Infrared Imager
TEXES Texas Echelon Cross Echelle Spectograph (visitor instrument)
GRACES Gemini Remote Access to CFHT EsPaDOnS Spectrograph (visitor instrument)

Gemini South
FLAMINGOS-2 Near-IR wide field imager and spectrometer.
GMOS-S Gemini Optical Imager, Multi-Object Spectrograph and IFU
GPI Gemini Planet Imager
GSAOI + GeMS Gemini South AO Imager and Multi-Conjugate AO System
DSSI DSSI Speckle Camera (visitor instrument)
Phoenix Phoenix hi-res IR Spectrometer (visitor instrument)

Subaru (Exchange Time)
COMICS Cooled Mid-IR Camera and Spectrometer
FMOS Near-IR Fiber-Fed Multi-Object Spectrograph
FOCAS Faint Object Camera and Spectrograph
HDS High Dispersion Spectrograph
HSC Hyper Suprime-Cam wide-field Optical Imager
IRCS IR Camera and Spectrograph
IRCS+AO188 IRCS + Natural and Laser Guide Star AO
MOIRCS Multi-Object IR Camera and Spectrograph
Suprime-Cam wide-field Optical Imager

Instruments at the Anglo-Australian Telescope
Proposal CodeInstrument/Detector
AAOmega+2dF Fiber-fed Optical Spectrograph
AAOmega+KOALA 1000-element optical IFU
AAOmega+SAMI 13 IFU fiber bundles over a 1-degree field
HERMES+2dF High Efficiency and Resolution Multi-Element Spectrograph
IRIS2 n-IR imager and longslit/multi-slit spectrograph
UCLES Cross-dispersed Echelle Spectrograph
UCLES +CYCLOPS2 Cross-dispersed Echelle Spectrograph + 16-element IFU

Instruments at CTIO Telescopes
Proposal CodeInstrument/Detector
4-m Blanco Telescope
DECam Dark Energy Camera
COSMOSCerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph
TS4 ARCoIRIS TripleSpec4 near-IR spectrograph

4-m SOAR Telescope
Goodman Goodman Spectrograph + Fairchild 4Kx4K CCD
SOISOAR Optical Imager + E2V 4Kx4K Mosaic
OSIRISOhio State IR Imager/Spectrometer
Spartan Spartan IR Imager
SAM SOAR Adaptive Module

1.5-m Telescope
CHIRON CHIRON fiber echelle spectrograph

1.3m Telescope
ANDI+CCDIR Cass Direct + CCD/IR Queue-Service

0.9-m Telescope
CFIM+T2K Cass Direct + SITe 2K CCD

Primary Instruments/Detectors at KPNO Telescopes
Proposal CodeInstrument/Detector
4-m Mayall Telescope
MOSA Prime Focus CCD Camera with Mosaic Imager
NEWFIRMvery wide-field IR imager
KOSMOSKitt Peak Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph in single-slit mode
KOSMOSMKitt Peak Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph in multi-object mode

WIYN (3.5-m Telescope)
ODI(40'x48' focal plane) One Degree Imager
GRDPK GradPak IFU + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD
HEXPK HexPak IFU + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD
HYDRBHydra + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Blue camera
HYDRRHydra + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Red camera
SPSPKR SparsePak Fiber Array + Bench Spectrograph + STA1, Red camera
WHIRCWIYN High Resolution IR Camera
DSSIDifferential Speckle Survey Instrument (available for exoplanet proposals only)

WIYN (0.9-m Telescope)
HDI Half-Degree Imager

Instrument Contacts

QUESTIONS? You can contact staff scientists using the information linked below.

Gemini Staff Contacts:

Gemini assistance is available by sending email to an NOAO Gemini Science Center Instrument Support Scientist, to, or through the Gemini Help Desk at

CTIO Staff Contacts:

Please see CTIO's Staff Contact List.

KPNO Staff Contacts:

Please see KPNO's Staff Contact List.

Proposal questions, as well as any comments and/or suggestions, may be directed to

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NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Last updated: September 2, 2015

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NOAO >   Observing Information >   2016A Instruments List

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