News & Opportunities

by Bryan Butler last modified Jun 29, 2018 by Davis Murphy

Joint NRAO/GBO/LBO Telescope Time Allocation Process

Proposals to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Green Bank Observatory (GBO), and the Long Baseline Observatory (LBO) for the scientific use of its telescopes are evaluated on the basis of scientific merit and technical feasibility using a panel-based proposal review system.  This joint process is run by the NRAO in accordance with it’s policy of non-discrimination and inclusion.

The NRAO 2019A Call for Proposals is only for observations with the VLA; the corresponding calls for the GBT and VLBA/HSA/GMVA can be found at the GBO Call for Proposals and the LBO Call for Proposals, respectively.

Note also the separate call for brief Expressions of Interest (EoIs) in Principal Investigator-led "eXtra Large Proposals" (X-Proposals) for the Very Large Array (VLA), Very Long Baseline Array, and Green Bank Telescope requiring 1000 hours or more of telescope time which has a deadline of  Thursday, 31 August 2018.

New Opportunities

Joint Observations with XMM-Newton Project

By agreement with the NRAO/GBO/LBO Observatories, detailed in a Memorandum of Understanding, the XMM-Newton Project may award up to 3% of NRAO/GBO/LBO open skies observing time.  Similarly the NRAO/GBO/LBO Time Allocation Committee may award up to 150 ks of XMM-Newton time per year.  See the Joint Observations with XMM-Newton page for details.

Continuing Opportunities

Agreements for Joint Observations with the NRAO were made before the observatory was split into three: NRAO, GBO, and LBO.  Access to the Joint Observing program will continue unchanged for the VLA, GBT and VLBA, at least for semester 19A.

Joint Observations with Chandra X-ray Observatory

The community has 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, since semester 2016A, proposers to the NRAO 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.

Joint Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

By agreement between the NRAO and the Space Telescope Science Institute, STScI can 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 per year.   See the Joint Observations with HST page for details.

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.

Joint Observations with Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

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.

Joint Proposals Between the GBT, LBO, and NRAO

Observing programs that require combinations of the GBT, VLBA, and/or the VLA should submit a proposal for each of the requested telescopes, with a clear justification for each, as has been the case to date. The proposals will be reviewed and considered jointly by the Time Allocation Committee. VLBI proposals which request the GBT or VLA (or any other HSA telescope) 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.


Director's Discretionary Time Including Education and Public Outreach

Proposals for Director's Discretionary Time (DDT) may be submitted at any time. They must be submitted through the PST. DDT proposals are intended to address targets of opportunity, high-risk/high-return exploratory time, or other science opportunities deemed sufficiently urgent to justify prompt action. 

DDT proposals may also be submitted for the purpose of education and public outreach - for example, to image an iconic source or to support an educational opportunity for students. Such proposals should clearly justify the requirements for the requested time allocation and observing mode on any given instrument, and should describe the anticipated impact of the observation.  

While there is not an a priori limit to time that can be requested via DDT, it is expected that no more than 5% of the observing time on each telescope will be allocated for this purpose.

Other Proposal Opportunities

The NRAO would like to make users aware that there are additional proposal opportunities as follows:

  • High Risk Proposals: As a means of maximizing its scientific impact through cutting-edge observations, the Observatory encourages the submission of high-risk/high-reward proposals.
  • Commensal Observing: 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. 
  • Filler Programs: Some programs are not time critical, strongly dependent on array configuration, or require highly subscribed LST ranges. Such programs may be able to take advantage of "filler" time.  

Further information about each of these programs can be found on the Proposal Opportunities page.