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National Optical Astronomy Observatory

Telescopes and Instruments for 2015A

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 Thursday, 25 September 2014 for the upcoming 2015A semester (January through July 2015). 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 2015A 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. For more information, see the NOAO Newsletter.

Gemini North and South

The Gemini Observatory is expected to release a Call for Proposals for 2015A on August 29. Proposers requesting Gemini time must use the Gemini Phase-I Tool (PIT).

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.

Community Access Time

AAT: Due to a time-exchange program between CTIO and the Australian Astronomical Observatory, ten nights of classical observing time at the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope will be available to the community during 2015A.

CHARA: About 50 hours of service observations with the CHARA Interferometer Array at Mt. Wilson will be available to the community during calendar year 2015. All proposals are due by 25 September (even for observations that would nominally fall in 2015B).


Blanco 4-m Availability in 2015A: 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 2015A, CTIO will be offering the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), the Infrared Side-Port Imager (ISPI), and the Cerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (COSMOS)..

For more information see the article on page 16 of the September 2014 issue of the NOAO Newsletter.

COSMOS Spectrograph: The CTIO Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (COSMOS) will be offered for the community in long-slit and imaging modes in 2015A, and in multi-slit mode on a shared-risk basis.

SOAR Remote Observing: For 2015A remote observing is being offered for NOAO and CNTAC proposals requesting time with SOI, Spartan, OSIRIS, or the Goodman Spectrograph, provided: (a) the person who will carry out the observations has previously observed at SOAR using the instrument(s) requested in the proposal; and (b) our review of the proposal does not reveal any special technical requirements which would make it preferable to have an observer on-site.

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.

Remote observers are strongly advised to contact us well in advance of the date of their run to arrange a check to ensure that their hardware and software are correctly configured, and in particular that there are no firewall issues; this may require the help and participation of their local computer support experts. Please note that while our connection to the US internet is quite reliable, network outages do occasionally occur, often without advance warning, and typically at points along the route not under our control. Such failures will certainly impact the efficiency of remote observing, and may cause the loss of part or all of the night's observing.

For more information, see

Given limited staff availability, we cannot support service observing for NOAO proposals at SOAR.

SOAR Goodman Spectrograph: The Goodman spectrograph will be available for 2015A in single slit and MOS mode with the full complement of gratings (see . Commissioned gratings include 400, 600, 930, 1200 and 2100 l/mm. The Goodman MOS field-of-view is approximately 5'x3'. MOS spectra can be obtained with any of the gratings currently in use with Goodman. The multi-object slit masks can be made using either pre-existing Goodman images or from Digital Sky Survey (DSS) images. General overheads for multi-object alignment are approximately 15 minutes. Please contact Sean Points for more details. An atmospheric dispersion corrector (ADC) has been installed at SOAR and is in regular use with Goodman. Filters other than the U, B, V, and Rc and order-sorting sets normally installed in the spectrograph, must be requested in the proposal, or it may not be possible to make them available.

SOAR Spartan IR Imager: The Spartan IR Camera is available in the low resolution mode. The high resolution mode is commissioned, but has seen very little use. Spartan should be preferred to OSIRIS for most NIR imaging applications.

CTIO Small Telescopes: Time on the small telescopes at CTIO will be available to NOAO users in 2015A 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 1.5-m and 1.3-m telescopes are only available in service/queue mode. The 0.9-m is only available in classically-scheduled "user" nights, with requests for 7 full nights strongly preferred. The 1.0-m telescope is currently closed. The 1.3-m telescope is used primarily 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.

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.


Note: Useful information for planning observations with KPNO Instruments Available for 2015A is summarized In the September 2014 NOAO Newsletter and at

KOSMOS (4m) is offered in both single-slit and multi-object mode. See for more information. PIs can propose for RC Spec in 2015A, but projects that can be moved to KOSMOS, will be. It is likely that 2015A will be the last semester for the R-C Spectrograph.

NEWFIRM (4m): Permanently installed filters include J, H, and Ks. See for further information, filter availability, and policy on filter changes.

Phoenix (4m): 2015A will be the last semester for Phoenix. Proposals should not be submitted for new, long-term projects requiring more than one semester with Phoenix to complete.

Echelle (4m): The Echelle spectrograph is not included in the 2015A call for proposals because the instrument is being retired at the end of the 2014B semester.

pODI (WIYN): pODI will be off the telescope for a focal plane upgrade until approximately mid-June. It is thus not offered for the 2015A semester. Check the WIYN website for developing information on science verification plans.

GradPak and HexPak (WIYN) are new IFUs containing multiple fiber diameters in the same head, designed to sample different spatial scales within the same observation. They are offered in 2015A on a shared-risk basis, subject to approval of the PI. Proposers should check the WIYN status web page, for contact information before proposing.

2.1-m Telescope (2.1m): Observing semester 2014A was the last semester of open access for the KPNO 2.1-m telescope (see the article on page 16 of the September 2013 Newsletter).

HDI (WIYN-0.9m): The Half-Degree Imager (HDI) was successfully commissioned in October 2013 and is offered for 2015A. Please check for updates before writing a proposal.

Remote Observing: KPNO offers remote observing for selected programs in 2015A. 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 2015A

The following telescope/instrument/detector combinations are available in 2015A. This list is revised twice a year and is published in the NOAO Newsletter and 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
DSSI DSSI Speckle Camera (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

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
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 the CHARA Array
Proposal CodeBeam Combiner
ClassicIR Imaging
ClimbIR Imaging
VEGAOptical Spectroscopy
MIRClow-res IR Spectroscopy
PAVOlow-res Spectroscopy

Instruments at CTIO Telescopes
Proposal CodeInstrument/Detector
4-m Blanco Telescope
DECam Dark Energy Camera
ISPI IR SidePort Imager + 2K HgCdTe
COSMOSCerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object 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
Phoenix Phoenix hi-res IR Spectrometer
KOSMOSKitt Peak Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph in single-slit mode
KOSMOSMKitt Peak Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph in multi-object mode
RCSPL+T2KAR-C Spectrograph + T2KA CCD, Longslit
RCSPM+T2KAR-C Spectrograph + T2KA CCD, Multislits
RCSPL+LB1AR-C Spectrograph + LB1A 1980x800 CCD, Longslit
RCSPM+LB1AR-C Spectrograph + LB1A 1980x800 CCD, Multislits

WIYN (3.5-m Telescope)
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

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

CHARA Staff Contact:

Send email to Steve Ridgway (

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: August 29, 2014

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NOAO >   Observing Information >   2015A Instruments List

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