News & Opportunities

by Davis Murphy last modified Jul 01, 2015 by Dana Balser

New Opportunity: Joint Observations with Chandra X-ray Observatory

In previous semesters, the community has had the opportunity to propose for observing time on NRAO facilities through a joint program with the Chandra X-ray Observatory.  The NRAO would like to alert the community to the fact that, beginning in semester 2016A, which covers NRAO observations from February to August 2016, proposers to the NRAO will have the opportunity to request time on Chandra, to be awarded on the recommendation of the NRAO Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC) and approved by the NRAO Director. Up to 120 ksec will be made available to NRAO proposers annually.  See the Joint Observations with Chandra page for details.

Continuing Opportunity: Joint Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

By agreement between the NRAO and the Space Telescope Science Institute, STScI will be able to award up to 3% of the available time on NRAO's North American facilities to highly ranked proposals that request time on both HST and NRAO telescopes.  In return, STScI has offered 30 orbits of HST time for allocation by the NRAO TAC to proposals submitted for the NRAO deadlines for Semester 2015B and Semester 2016A.   See the Joint Observations with HST page for details.

Continuing Opportunity: Joint Observations with Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission

To foster correlative observations, a joint Swift/NRAO observing program has been established, detailed in a Memorandum of Understanding. By this agreement, the Swift Program permits NRAO to award up to 300 kiloseconds of Swift observing time per year.   Similarly, NRAO permits the Swift Guest Investigator (GI) Program to award NRAO observing time.  See the Joint Observations with Swift page for details.

Continuing Opportunity: Joint Observations with Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

We remind the community that it is possible to propose for observing time on NRAO facilities through the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Joint Proposal Opportunity or the Cooperative Proposal Opportunity.  See the Joint Observations with Fermi page for details.

Large Millimeter Telescope Available for 3mm VLBI with the High Sensitivity Array

Following a successful 3mm VLBI run between the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano (LMT) in Mexico and the VLBA in May 2014 (see the associated NRAO eNews article), the LMT has been included in the High Sensitivity Array (HSA) operating at 3mm, enabling combinations of the LMT with the VLBA, and optionally the GBT, since semester 2015A.  Access to this capability is provided through the VLBA Resident Shared Risk Observing (RSRO) program. Proposals should be submitted through the NRAO Proposal Submission Tool for the NRAO 2016A proposal deadline.

High Risk Proposals

As a means of maximizing its scientific impact through cutting-edge observations, the Observatory also encourages the submission of high-risk/high-reward proposals. Such proposals may involve unusual targets, nonstandard observing techniques, new post-observing data reduction and analysis, or supplementary hardware or new back ends. Please contact Science Support and Research prior to submitting such proposals to discuss anticipated resource requirements. Observers contemplating such proposals may also wish to consider submitting an Exploratory Proposal to request Director's Discretionary Time as a means of demonstrating a proof of concept.

Commensal Proposals

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. Groups wishing to carry out commensal observations should submit independent science cases as separate primary and secondary proposals.

A primary proposal controls the telescope pointings and requests the full amount of telescope hours required to fulfill the science objectives detailed in the proposal.  Secondary proposals are to run commensally with the primary pointings but make no formal request for an allocation of telescope time. However, when preparing a secondary commensal proposal, please ensure that a nominal amount of time is requested for a session (e.g., 0.1 hrs), even if it is a dummy session. Each proposal must contain estimates of the full resources needed (correlator setup, data rates, etc.) to carry out their specific part of the project.

During the proposal review and time allocation process it will be determined if the combination of the observing set-up and the positions by the primary or secondary proposals conflict with any approved projects. In the case of a conflict, some data restrictions may be applied to the primary and/or the secondary commensal proposal.  If the primary and secondary proposals use the same back-end resources (VLA-WIDAR, GBT-VEGAS, etc) it may be necessary for technical reasons to require that the investigators on both primary and commensal projects be given full access to all data.

Filler Time

The Observatory would like to point out that there are opportunities for so-called "filler" programs on all of its 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

Those who are planning to submit a Triggered proposal must include well-defined trigger criteria and state applicable semesters in their request for telescope time. Furthermore, a Triggered proposal must ask for the full amount of time needed to achieve the science goals, including both initial and follow-up observations. Proposers should not request Director's Discretionary Time to follow-up an event initially observed under a Triggered proposal. A list of all active VLA proposals of type Triggered is available.