Volume 7, Issue 7
7 July 2014
NRAO Call for Proposals: Semester 2015A
NRAO eNews Volume 7, Issue 7 7 July 2014
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) invites scientists to participate in the NRAO Semester 2015A Call for Proposals. The submission deadline for Semester 2015A proposals is Friday, 1 August 2014, at 17:00 EDT (21:00 UTC).
- Download the complete 2015A NRAO Call for Proposals (*.pdf)
The 2015A NRAO Call for Proposals is also available at the NRAO science website.
Proposals must be prepared and submitted using the NRAO Proposal Submission Tool (PST) available at NRAO Interactive Services. PST use requires registration. Proposers who need assistance or have questions should contact Observatory staff via the NRAO Helpdesk.
New Opportunity: Joint Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
The NRAO Time Allocation Committee may award up to 30 HST orbits to Semester 2015A proposals that make a compelling scientific case for the need of HST observations in support of observations by the VLA, VLBA/HSA, and/or the GBT. Similarly, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) may award time on NRAO facilities to highly ranked proposals that request time on HST and NRAO telescopes through normal proposal cycles. NRAO proposers who are successful in receiving HST orbits may apply to STScI for Phase 2 support. Additional details are available in the complete call.
New Opportunity: Joint Observations with Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission
The NRAO Time Allocation Committee may award up to 300 ksec to Semester 2015A proposals that make a compelling scientific case for the need of Swift observations in support of observations by the VLA, VLBA/HSA, and/or the GBT. Similarly, the Swift project may award time on NRAO facilities to highly ranked proposals that request time on Swift and NRAO telescopes through normal proposal cycles. All successful NRAO proposers may be eligible for Swift GI support. The next Swift proposal deadline is 25 Sep 2014. Additional details are available in the complete call.
Continuing Opportunity: Joint Observations with Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope
NRAO observing may be requested via the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Joint Proposal Opportunity or the Cooperative Proposal Opportunity. Up to 10% of the VLA, VLBA, and GBT observing time is available each year for joint observations. The next Fermi proposal deadline is in January 2015.
Continuing Opportunity: Joint Observations with Chandra X-ray Observatory
NRAO observing time may be requested via a joint program with the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Up to 3% of the observing time on the VLA, the VLBA and the GBT may be allocated for joint proposals. The next Chandra proposal deadline is in March 2015.
High Risk Proposals
To maximize the Observatory’s scientific impact, NRAO encourages high-risk/high-reward proposals involving unusual targets, nonstandard observing techniques, new post-observing data reduction and analysis, supplementary hardware or new back ends, etc.
NRAO telescopes and backends are sufficiently flexible in many cases to allow two experiments to run commensally. To the degree that this enhances science return from the telescopes, NRAO wishes to support commensal projects subject to resource and scheduling constraints.
Opportunities exist for filler programs on all NRAO telescopes. Observing programs that exploit frequencies below 10 GHz, do not have strong scheduling constraints, and could benefit from short scheduling blocks are encouraged to propose for such opportunities. The proposal should make clear in the abstract and early in the science justification that "filler" time (scheduling priority C) is being requested, not time at scheduling priority A or B.
Triggered Proposals must include well-defined trigger criteria and state applicable semesters in their request for telescope time, and must ask for the full amount of time needed to achieve the science goals, including both initial and follow-up observations.
The Observatory requires proposers to specify their source lists in full. This enables the Observatory to identify potential conflicts between observing programs and to better understand scheduling pressure on the instruments it operates. It may be the case that the final target list has not been selected at the time a proposal is submitted. In such cases, all potential targets and fields should be listed. The only exceptions to this requirement are for Triggered proposals to observe targets that are unknown a priori. Proposal source lists are not made public by the Observatory.
Students planning to use one or more NRAO telescopes for their PhD dissertation must submit a "Plan of Dissertation Research" of no more than 1000 words with their first proposal. This plan must be referenced in all proposals relevant to the thesis work and the proposal must be clear on how the proposed observations relate to the thesis. Students should update their plan, including the timeline, on a regular basis to ensure that reviewers have a complete understanding of the student’s progress toward completion.
Tips for Proposers
The NRAO proposal evaluation and time allocation process is panel based. That is, members of the scientific community are responsible for reviewing proposals based on their scientific merit through eight Science Review Panels. As a means of broadening the scientific perspective of its reviewers, and of increasing the participation of the wider astronomy and astrophysics community in the science program of NRAO facilities, SRP membership is deliberately selected to include some colleagues that are not necessarily experts in radio observational techniques. This being the case, we encourage proposers to consider the following when preparing their proposals:
- Avoid the use of radio astronomy jargon
- Do not assume the reader is familiar with a particular observing technique - explain it briefly
- Do not assume the reader is familiar with an earlier rationale for a developing line of research - provide adequate historical context and connect the dots as necessary
- Describe previous observations and publications relevant to the proposed observations
- If a particular point source or brightness temperature sensitivity is required, justify it.
Useful Resources & Tools
Note: you must be a registered NRAO user to access many of these resources. Please go to NRAO Interactive Services. If you are already a registered user, you are encouraged to update your profile.
Proposal Submission Tool
The Proposal Submission Tool and associated documentation is accessed through NRAO Interactive Services.
Proposal Finder Tool
The Proposal Finder Tool (PFT) may be used to search cover sheets of proposals approved for time on NRAO telescopes. The PFT returns the proposal's authors, title, abstract, and, if available, approved hours.
Green Bank Telescope (GBT)
- GBT Proposer's Guide
- The Performance of the GBT: A Guide for Planning Observations
- GBT Sensitivity Calculator
Very Large Array (VLA)
- VLA Observational Status Summary
- VLA Proposal Preparation and Submission
- Guide to Observing with the VLA
- VLA Configuration Plans and Science Time Available
- VLA Exposure Calculator
Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), High Sensitivity Array (HSA)