by Gustaaf Van Moorsel last modified Dec 17, 2018 by Dana Balser


This section is where you enter the title and abstract. You also must select the category that your proposal falls into. Additionally you are asked for any related proposals, what level of staff support you will require, and whether or not you will be present at the telescope for the observations.

Various length constraints are noted, or warned about, on this page. If these constraints are not met then a popup warning message will inform the user of the problem.



The title of your proposal. For a submitted proposal, the title can be at most 80 characters long.



A concise description and justification of the science goals of the proposed program. The abstract must be written in standard ASCII and should be no longer than 200 words and no shorter than 10 words.


Proposal Categories

Proposals are categorized in various ways, primarily to simplify reviewer assignment and the reporting of telescope usage statistics. Select at least one from each of the categories below.

Proposal Type

Beginning on 7 Jan 2011, NRAO recognizes four different types of proposals (see the relevant Section ). These are:

  1. Regular Proposal: A proposal which requires small allocations of telescope time, less than 200 hours. Proposal deadlines are once per semester.
  2. Large Proposal: A project which requires large allocations of telescope time, at least 200 hours. Large proposals must be submitted on the semester deadline.
  3. Triggered Proposal: Proposals for pre-planned observations of transients whose event times are unknown a priori; well-defined triggering criteria are required. Triggered proposals must be submitted on the semester deadline.
  4. Director's Discretionary Time: Proposals for Exploratory Proposals, Targets of Opportunity, or Education and Public Outreach. These may be submitted at any time.

Proposal Sponsor

Beginning 3 Feb 2014, NRAO recognizes proposal sponsors. Sponsored proposals have guaranteed telescope time because of support from external organizations (the sponsor). Currently, the sponsors consist of West Virginia University (WVU) and NYUAD for the GBT, SHAO for the VLBA, and Other for special cases (e.g., one time sponsor). The default is that a proposal is Not Sponsored''. Users should not change the default unless they have been identified by the external organization as part of the sponsored program.

Scientific Category

This category indicates the types of objects and the science that you wish to do. The selections are:

  1. Solar system, stars, planetary systems: Sun, planets, comets, IPM; exoplanets; main sequence stars; active stars; stellar winds; AGB & post-AGB stars; PNe; novae
  2. Gravitation waves and energetic transients: supernovae, gravitational wave sources, gamma-ray bursts, tidal disruption events, fast radio bursts, exotic/unknown transients
  3. Pulsars and compact objects: millisecond pulsars, cataclysmic variables, black hole and/or neutron star x-ray binaries, pulsar timing, pulsar proper motion
  4. Star formation: young stellar objects; protostars; jets, outflows; T Tauri stars; circumstellar disks; protoplanetary systems; astrochemistry
  5. Interstellar and Intergalactic medium: galactic HI & OH; ISM magnetic field; SNRs; HII regions; astrochemistry
  6. Normal galaxies, clusters, and groups: Galaxies (continuum), including galaxies in groups & clusters: disk emission; star formation; magnetic fields; galactic winds; starbursts; intracluster emission & ICM astrophysics
  7. Extragalactic structure: Galaxies (line): galaxy structure; galaxy kinematics; chemistry and dynamics; gas in galaxies
  8. Active galactic nuclei: Seyferts; low-luminosity AGN; H2O megamasers; CSOs; radio galaxies; blazars; quasars; environmental interactions
  9. High redshift and source surveys: High redshift and source surveys: High-z objects; extragalactic source surveys; galaxy formation; gravitational lenses; large-scale structure & clusters (as cosmological probes); CMB; early universe



Observing Type

The observing types are general descriptors of your proposed observations. They give the NRAO support staff a better idea of how you will be doing your observations. You should select all the observing types that apply for your observations. Not every observing type is relevant for each telescope. Below is a list of observing types:

  1. Continuum: continuum emission observations (e..g, synchrotron emission).
  2. Spectroscopy: spectral lines observations.
  3. Polarimetry: observations to measure the polarization properties of a source or field.
  4. Single Pointing(s): observations of a single position or field.
  5. Grid Mapping/Mosaicing: observations of a region by taking data at multiple positions or fields. Typically called Grid Mapping for single-dish telescopes and Mosaicing for interferometers.
  6. OTF Mapping: observations of a region by scanning the telescope while taking data (aka On The Fly Mapping).
  7. Sun: Solar observations which may require special techniques because of the large dynamic range.
  8. Monitoring: multi-epoch observations of a target (e.g., time variability).
  9. Solar System: observations of Solar System objects that do not move at the sidereal rate.
  10. High Time Resolution: observations that require fast sampling in time.
  11. Pulsar: observations of pulsars which often requires special detectors.
  12. Radar: observations to detect radar signals reflected from a celestial object which often requires special detectors.
  13. Geodesy: observations designed to measure and understand the Earth's geometric shape, orientation in space, or gravity field.
  14. Astrometry: precise measurements of the position or motion of a celestial object.
  15. VLA Subarrays: VLA observations that divide the array into two or more smaller arrays (e.g., observe two different targets simultaneously).
  16. Other:


Related Proposals

Here you should enter the proposal codes for any previous NRAO proposal that are related to the current proposal. These proposals can be any prior proposals submitted by the same group, whether approved or rejected. They may also include related proposals for another NRAO telescope that were part of a multi-telescope project.


Plan of Dissertation Research

Students PROPOSING to use an NRAO telescope for their PhD dissertation MUST submit a "Plan of Dissertation Research" IF THEY CHECK THE THESIS BOX ON THE PST. THE PLAN SHOULD BE no more than 1000 words, AND SUBMITTED with their first proposal. This plan can be referred to in later proposals.  The Plan of Dissertation is important in the proposal review process and should be well written; it is not a placeholder.  At a minimum it should contain:

  • A summary of thesis science and goals.
  • The role played by NRAO observations being proposed.
  • A thesis time line.
  • The adviser name and institution.
  • An estimate of the total NRAO telescope resources needed.

The plan provides some assurance against a dissertation being impaired by adverse referee comments on one proposal, when the referees do not see the full scope of the project. This requirement applies to all three of the NRAO major instruments: VLA, VLBA and GBT.

The Plan of Dissertation Research can be uploaded either from the Author's page or from the student's user profile at: Profile > My Profile > User Preferences. The Plan of Dissertation Research is associated with an Author which can then be used in one or more proposals. The Plan of Dissertation Research field here is only used to display the current status. For example, if there are no students listed on the proposal who are observing for their thesis the text box will display: Dissertation Research Plan(s) not required''


Joint Proposals

Proposals requesting multiple telescopes are considered joint proposals.   Select one or more telescopes from the list. You must submit a separate proposal for each NRAO telescope; those proposals must each include the same scientific justification. The cover information for each NRAO telescope may differ. The PST must be used if either the GBT, VLA, or VLBA are used in the joint proposal. VLBI proposals which request the GBT or VLA (or the HSA, for example) as elements of the VLBI array do not need separate proposals - those telescopes can be selected as separate VLBI stations from a VLBA/HSA proposal.

Beginning 3 Feb 2014, joint proposals include external facilities (e.g., HST).  Currently, there are four external facilities: HST, Swift, Chandra, and XMM-Newton.  For HST please specify the number of orbits; for Swift, Chandra, and XMM-Newton please specify the number ksec.  Please put any technical information regarding the external facility on the specified textbox on Technical Justification page.