Obtaining Observing Time on the EVLA

by Stephan W. Witz last modified Apr 04, 2012

Observing time on the EVLA is available to all researchers, regardless of nationality or location of institution. There are no quotas or reserved blocks of time. The allocation of observing time on the EVLA is based upon the submission of an EVLA Observing Proposal using the on-line Proposal Submission Tool available via the NRAO Interactive Service web page, at http://my.nrao.edu/. The on-line tool permits the detailed construction of a cover sheet specifying the requested observations, using a set of on-line forms, and uploading of a pdf-format scientific and technical justification to accompany the cover information.

It is also possible to obtain EVLA observing time by proposing to NASA missions, under cooperation agreements established between NRAO and those missions. Currently, such programs exist for the Chandra, Spitzer, and Fermi missions. Astronomers interested in those joint programs should consult the relevant mission proposal calls for more information.

Students planning to use the EVLA for their Ph.D. dissertation may find that such dissertations comprise pieces of several short proposals, which may not be suitable for combining into a single proposal for refereeing purposes. In this case, we shall accept, one per student, a "Plan of Dissertation Research," of no more than 1000 words, at the time of the first proposal of the series, and which can be referred to in later proposals. The plan can be submitted via the NRAO Interactive Services webpage, at http://my.nrao.edu/. This provides some assurance against a dissertation being impaired by an adverse review of one proposal when the full scope of the project is not seen. This facility is offered to students for which EVLA observations are the most important component of their planned dissertations.

Starting in 2011 time on the EVLA is scheduled on a semester basis, with each semester lasting six months. Proposal deadlines will be 5pm (1700) Eastern Time on February 1 and August 1 (if the deadline falls on a holiday or weekend, it is extended to the next working day). The February 1 proposal deadline nominally covers time to be scheduled during the following August through January, and the August 1 deadline is for time to be scheduled from February through July. Proposals for any configuration in the current DA configuration cycle (September 2011 through January 2013) may be submitted at any proposal deadline, although a proposal for a configuration that has already passed may not be held over for consideration in the next configuration cycle, since the capabilities to be offered in the future are likely to be considerably different from those described in this document.

All proposals will be reviewed by a Science Review Panel (SRP) in relevant subdisciplines (e.g., solar system, stellar, galactic, extragalactic, etc.). The SRP's comments and rating are strongly advisory to the NRAO Time Allocation Committee (TAC), and the comments of both groups are passed on to the proposers soon after each meeting of the TAC (twice yearly) and prior to the next proposal submission deadline. See http://science.nrao.edu/observing/ for a detailed description of the time allocation process.

Because of competition, even highly rated proposals are not guaranteed to receive observing time. This is particularly true for programs that concentrate on objects in the LST ranges occupied by popular targets such as the Galactic Center or the Virgo cluster. Daytime observing will also be limited by EVLA commissioning throughout 2011 and 2012.