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Telescopes and Instruments for 2017B

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 Friday, 31 March 2017 for the upcoming 2017B semester (August 2017 through January 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 at Gemini North and South, Subaru, LBT, AAT, CHARA, CTIO, and KPNO for the 2017B 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 2017B. Proposers requesting Gemini time must use the Gemini Phase-I Tool (PIT).

Gemini North will be unavailable from August 1 through August 25 2017 for completion of the dome shutter repair.

Gemini South will be unavailable from October 3 through October 12 2017 for annual planned preventive maintenance.

Starting in 2017B 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 North Laser Guide Star (Altair with LGS) system will not be available for regular programs in 2017B.

The GPI nonredundant mask (NRM) is available for use in shared risk in 2017B.

FLAMINGOS2 OIWFS is available for science observations requiring image quality within IQ 85%ile.

For FLAMINGOS2, two new medium K-band filters are available for science observations in 2017B, in shared risk mode, pending installation and characterization.

The DSSI Speckle camera visitor instrument will be available at Gemini North and at Gemini South in 2017B.

Phoenix will be available as a visitor instrument at Gemini South in 2017B.

POLISH2, a high-precision polarimeter, will be available as a visitor instrument at Gemini North in 2017B.

Opportunity Extended: Bring one, get one! In 2017B, 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. Subaru will not be available from October to mid-December 2017 for recoating work on the primary mirror. 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), seven nights of service observing time at the Large Binocular Telescope will be available to the community in 2017B.

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 2017B.

CHARA: Up to 15 nights of service observations with the CHARA Interferometer Array at Mt. Wilson will be available to the community during 2017B. Note that this call covers a six-month period, not a full year as in the past, so the time available is six times what it has been in recent years.


Blanco 4-m

Instruments available: In 2017B, CTIO will be offering the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), the Cerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (COSMOS), and the Astronomy Research with the Cornell InfraRed Imaging Spectrograph (ARCoIRIS).

Nights Available in 2017B: The Dark Energy Survey (DES) has been granted 100 nights, and the DECals survey an additional 15-20 nights during 2017B. Between them, these surveys will use all of the dark and grey time in the months of September through mid-December, along with the dark and grey second-half nights in August and first-half nights from mid December through January. As a result about 45 nights remain available to the community, but these are confined to: (a) first half nights in August of all lunar phases; (b) full nights within +/-3 nights of full moon in September October and November; and (c) second half nights of all lunar phases in December and January.


SOAR is on track to perform aluminization of its primary mirror during semester 2017B. This is a process that takes approximately 6 weeks and would nominally run from late October through early December. A final decision on readiness and on the precise dates will be made prior to completion of the 2017B schedule.

The SOAR web site is located at:

OSIRIS has been retired. 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.

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.

Both SIFS and STELES are undergoing commissioning at present so it is not possible to propose for either one. We do anticipate scheduling science verification time for both during 2017B (in addition to possible SV time in 2017A). We will announce any such time on the SOAR home page and by announcements to the community; interested parties can also contact SOAR staff or the instrument teams.

It is likely that another block of SAM Fabry-Perot time will be scheduled in campaign mode, although a final decision will probably not be made until May or early June. This would be handled in a similar way to the time in 2016B and 2017A.


Time on the small telescopes at CTIO will be available to NOAO users in 2017B 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 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.

Due to funding constraints, the 1.5m + CHIRON (fiber-fed cross-dispersed echelle) is not being operated in 2017B. We are looking for additional funding in order to return to full operations.

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: Time will be available for observing programs in 2017B from 1 August through 31 October, except the week of 21-27 August (inclusive) when the mountain will be closed for major electiral work. Preference will be given to existing programs that need additional time for completion. On 1 November, observing will cease as preparations for the installation of the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) will take the telescope out of service.

In 2017B, the instruments offered at the Mayall will be KOSMOS and Mosaic-3. KOSMOS is a high-efficiency optical spectrograph with both single- and multi-slit modes. Mosaic-3 is a new incarnation of the NOAO Mosaic imager. It consists of four 4Kx4K, red-sensitive LBNL CCDs mounted in the Mosaic-2 dewar. Please see for the latest information.

WIYN: As was the case in the 2017A, 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 2017B 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 2017B. 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 2017B

The following telescope/instrument/detector combinations are available in 2017B.

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
DSSI DSSI Speckle Camera (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)
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
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
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

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 and Mosaic-3 upgrade
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
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, 2016

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