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Telescopes and Instruments for 2018A

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 Monday, 2 October 2017 for the upcoming 2018A semester (February through July 2018). 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 for the 2018A 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 2018A. Proposers requesting Gemini time must use the Gemini Phase-I Tool (PIT).

The Gemini Phase I Tool (PIT) will automatically add the time for the baseline partner calibrations to the total time requested for each target in the proposal.

The Gemini community is eligible to propose Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) "filler" programs on Subaru in 2018A.

The Gemini North Laser Guide Star (Altair with LGS) system will not be available for regular programs in 2018A.

GMOS South will be unavailable for about six weeks during the second half of the 2018A semester for planned instrument maintenance.

The GPI nonredundant mask (NRM) is available for science in 2018A.

For FLAMINGOS2, two 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 (subject to demand) during the first half of 2018A at Gemini South.

ALOPEKE, a new 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 (subject to demand) during the second half of 2018A at Gemini South.

POLISH2, a high-precision polarimeter, will be available (subject to demand) as a visitor instrument at Gemini North in 2018A.

Opportunity Extended: Bring one, get one! In 2018A, Gemini Observatory will continue to subsidize, with up to US$2000, the travel expenses of individual underand graduate students visiting Gemini North or South, when accompanying a senior observer

We point out that in addition to the regular Gemini queue, the Gemini Observatory supports a monthly Fast Turnaround (FT) program that is managed by Gemini and offers up to 10% of the Gemini time. The FT program is especially suitable for small programs (time less than about 6-8 hours) that can be executed relatively quickly in the dedicated FT queue. These proposals are peer-reviewed by other proposers in the same month.

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

LBT: Due to the Telescope System Instrumentation Program (TSIP), eight nights of service observing time at the Large Binocular Telescope will be available to the community in 2018A.

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 2018A.

LCO: Approximately 1220 hrs of 1-meter time and 220 hrs of 2-meter time with the global telescope network of Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) will be available to the community in 2018A. The Las Cumbres 2018A semester will begin and end two months earlier than NOAO's standard 2018A semester and run from 1 December 2017 - 31 May 2018.

CHARA: Up to 25 nights of service observations with the CHARA Interferometer Array at Mt. Wilson will be available to the community during 2018A. Note that this call covers a six-month period, not a full year as in the past, so the time available is ten times what it has been in the past.


Blanco 4-m

Instruments available: In 2018A, CTIO will be offering the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) and the Cerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (COSMOS). The Astronomy Research with the Cornell InfraRed Imaging Spectrograph (ARCoIRIS), will be relocated to SOAR during the 2018 calendar year. Depending on demand, ARCoIRIS may be scheduled on Blanco early in 2018A before being taken out of service to carry opto-mechanical modifications inside the Dewar. It is expected to become available again on SOAR for Science Verification and possibly in campaign mode during the 2018B semester.

Nights Available in 2018A: A three week shutdown for recoating of the Blanco primary mirror has been tentatively scheduled for April 2018. The Dark Energy Survey (DES) has been granted the first halves of Feb 2-11 inclusive, and the DECals survey has been granted 22 dark/grey nights distributed throughout the semester. The rest of the semester should be normal with approximately 60 nights available for allocation by the NOAO TAC.


The SOAR web site is located at:

A second camera for the Goodman spectrograph is now available, which incorporates a deep-depletion e2v CCD with better red performance (but somewhat inferior UV performance). Please see the Goodman page at SOAR, or the SOAR home page, for further details. It is now considered the preferred configuration for anyone who does not worry about UV response. Users are restricted to one camera on a given night, but do not need to commit to a specific camera when writing the proposal. Observers should note that the Goodman red camera may be preferred to SOI for many imaging programs, especially those that rely on observations in the red/near-infrared, where the Goodman detector has much better fringing properties than SOI (or Goodman blue).

The restricted use speckle camera, HRCam, can be proposed for. If the AO-assisted mode is desired, please request SAMHR on the proposal form.

SOAR will also be offering limited access to two instruments:

Prospective users are reminded that


Time on the small telescopes at CTIO will be available to NOAO users in 2018A 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 SMARTS web site is

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

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. For inquiries about scheduling or 1.3m + ANDICAM observing capabilities, please contact the SMARTS 1.3m queue manager Bryndis Cruz at For any other inquiries about the 1.3m, please contact Victoria Misenti at

The 1.5m + CHIRON (fiber-fed cross-dispersed echelle) is scheduled to reopen for regular use starting October 1, 2017. The current operation plan is for one year only, i.e., through September 30, 2018, but should sufficient funding be found, the telescope may remain open. Queue programs can be accommodated for up to 15% of observing time through NOAO. Since it was not known that the 1.5m would be available at the time of the 2017B CfP, requests for time can be submitted in response to the present CfP for observing time during the entire period November 2017 to July 2018. We anticipate that between 100-150 hrs will be available; starting as early as mid-November. For more information on the 1.5m, please contact Dr. Todd Henry at

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.


Mayall: The Mayall 4-m telescope will be taken out of service for installation of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). No time will be available through the NOAO TAC in 2018A.

WIYN: As was the case in the 2017B, 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 include the 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 the queue-operated speckle imager NESSI. Observers wishing to use Hexpak or Gradpak in 2018A should contact the PI (Matthew Bershady) at before submitting a proposal to use these IFUs.

All WIYN proposers, please review the Proposal Information page ( to ensure all the required information is submitted on your proposal.

Remote Observing: KPNO offers remote observing for selected programs in 2018A. 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 2018A

The following telescope/instrument/detector combinations are available in 2018A.

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
Altair facility AO system available with GNIRS, NIFS, and NIRI
ALOPEKE differential speckle imager (visitor instrument)
GRACES Gemini Remote Access to CFHT EsPaDOnS Spectrograph (visitor instrument)
POLISH-2 high-precision polarimeter (visitor instrument)
TEXES Texas Echelon Cross Echelle 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)
IGRINS Immersion GRating INfrared Spectrograph (visitor instrument)

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

Instruments at the Large Binocular Telescope
Proposal CodeInstrument/Detector
LBC Large Binocular Cameras, Red and Blue
LUCI LBT Utility Cameras in the Infrared
MODS Multi-Object Double Spectrographs

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
Veloce echelle spectrograph with IFU

Instruments at Las Cumbres Observatory
Proposal CodeInstrument
2-m global network
SpectralOptical Imager
FLOYDScross-dispersed low-res spectrograph

1-m global network
SinistroOptical Imager
NRESfiber-fed echelle spectrograph

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

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
Spartan Spartan IR Imager
SAM SOAR Adaptive Module
HRCAM High-Resolution Camera, standalone
SAMHR SOAR Adaptive Module with HRCam
SIFS SOAR Integral Field Spectrograph

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

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
NESSINASA Exoplanet Star (and) Speckle Imager

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 1, 2017

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