KPNO Observing Proposal Forms

picture KPNO Observing Proposal Forms

This file contains the description of the various files available as part of the Kitt Peak Observing Proposal package. These files are available over anonymous FTP to "", cd kpno/kpnoforms or via the World Wide Web under the KPNO link (the NOAO home page is The files marked with a * are also automatically returned if you send email to

*kpnoprop.tex: This is the observing proposal form, ready for you to fill out.

*kpprop14.sty: This is the "style file" necessary for running LaTeX on the observing proposal form.

sample.tex: This is an observing proposal form that has been filled out to provide an example for you to follow. A sample figure that is used as part of the sample.tex file. A PostScript version of the blank form, in case you wish to send us a paper copy instead.

Hints about how to use LaTeX or generate EPS files may be found in files in the "noao" directory at the same anonymous FTP site, "". If you are missing some style files in your local setup for processing your proposal look here as well.


If you are applying for WIYN time, you should use the regular KPNO form, specifying "WIYN-2hr" or "WIYN" for the telescope. In either case, however, you must also submit the details of your proposed observations using the following files, available by anonymous FTP or the World Wide Web as above.
*wiyn_info.txt: This documents gives more complete information about WIYN, its instruments, and observing practices.

*wiyn_qform.tex: This is the LaTeX form in which you specify the details of your proposed observations.

*wiynq20.sty: This is the "style file" necessary for running LaTeX on the queue form.

wiyn_qsample.tex: This is a queue observing list that has been filled out as an example.


Observing time at Kitt Peak National Observatory is allocated via peer review twice a year. Proposals must be received by 31 March for the following August through January, and by 30 September for February through July.

Proposal forms may be obtained either electronically (see below) or by writing the KPNO Director's Office, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, AZ 85726-6732.

For paper submissions, complete the form and send a single copy to the KPNO Director's Office, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, AZ 85726-6732 (U.S. mail) or 950 N. Cherry, Tucson, AZ 85719 (overnight). Paper versions must be received here by 5 pm MST on 31 March or 30 September. Vagaries of the Post Office and "overnight" delivery services are, alas, unpredictable, so please allow sufficient time for us to receive the proposal on time. We do not accept proposals by telefax.

Electronic submission is encouraged using the LaTeX version (only) of the form. Use anonymous FTP to "" (, login as "anonymous" (password=your email address), cd kpno/kpnoforms, mget *, bye. The README file describes the various files. Alternatively, the files will be automatically emailed to you if you send a (blank) email message to, or you can obtain them via the World Wide Web. (The NOAO home page is Prepare your proposal following the instructions, referring to the sample proposal as needed. Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) figures may be included through a two-step process; follow the example given. Run LaTeX on your proposal, adjusting your file as needed until there are no significant errors and you are happy with the look of the output document. Email the LaTeX version (NOT the PostScript or dvi version) to You will receive an automatic acknowledgement, along with instructions to email any EPS figures. Send questions to Complete electronic submissions, including figures, must be received before midnight MST on 31 March or 30 September.

Do not send duplicate paper and/or electronic submissions.

Scientific Justification. Please limit yourself to one page of prose; the TAC is not asked to read beyond that, although figures and references may run to a second page. Do not use type fonts smaller than 12 characters per inch when using a typewriter; do not change the default font size in the electronic proposal forms. Remember that the TAC is comprised mostly of specialists in fields other than yours. Explain the context and significance of your program clearly.

Observing runs. Because all of our telescopes are heavily blocked scheduled, it is more important than ever to specify as generous a range as possible for "acceptable dates." See the most recent March or September issue of the NOAO Newsletter for a complete list of telescope and instruments combinations.

Visitor instruments. If you are planning to bring a visitor instrument, you must send a separate letter (KPNO Director's Office) or email ( prior to October 15 or April 15 to describe more fully the instrument and its interfacing requirements than what is possible on the form.

Proposals for Special Status:

Ph.D. Thesis. Graduate student thesis work is supported on all but the 4m and 3.5m telescopes through an implicit commitment for continuity of observing time once the original program has been granted time. For thesis proposals, the faculty advisor must send a letter citing (a) the graduate student's observing experience, (b) the student's academic standing, and (c) how this particular observing proposal fits into the overall thesis plans. Is other telescope time being used as part of the thesis, and how many additional runs on what telescopes will be required to finish the thesis? This letter must be received by the proposal deadline. It may be sent with the proposal if submitted on paper, or by the thesis advisor to the address if the proposal is submitted electronically.

Long-Term Status. KPNO accepts proposals for scientific programs which extend beyond a single semester. If you wish to apply for long-term status, check "yes" on the front page of the form and give the details of your request (e.g. "six nights per semester for 4 semesters"). Long-term status may be granted to proposals for which a scientific result cannot be achieved without the full allocation of time.

Key Projects. KPNO encourages proposals for observing programs which seek to answer a significant scientific question of general interest and which require more than the usual allocation of time. Criteria for evaluating Key Projects are as follows. Is the program of high scientific merit? Is the subject of the proposal of general interest to the broader astronomical community? Is access to significant amounts of telescope time necessary to make progress on the scientific problem? Will KPNO telescope time comprise most of the observing for the project? Key Project proposals should also address how the large body of data collected can be made available to the community. If you wish to propose a Key Project, indicate "Key Project" on the front page, and give details in the place designated for "long-term" status. Describe also how smaller allocations of time would be used if the project is not accepted as a Key Project. Key Project proposals are permitted up to two pages of scientific justification.


To apply for observations with the 3.5m WIYN Telescope, use the standard KPNO proposal form. Specify either "WIYN" or "WIYN-2hr" as the telescope. Both the multi-object spectrometer HYDRA and a direct CCD are available. More information is available in the wiyn_info.txt file available as above.

Programs for observations from the "2 hour queue" should use the standard form, but keep the scientific justification to a half page or less.

Proposals for WIYN observations MUST INCLUDE the objects to be observed and other observational details using the special QUEUE OBSERVING FORM available via anonymous FTP, the World Wide Web, or email from Instructions for filling in this form are available within the LaTeX template.

Questions? Call Judy Prosser at 520-318-8279, or send email to

(updated 2/19/97 jvb)

KPNO/NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation