News & Opportunities

by Bryan Butler last modified Jan 04, 2019 by Davis Murphy


Joint NRAO and GBO Telescope Time Allocation Process

Proposals to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) 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 2019B Call for Proposals is for observations with the VLA and VLBA/HSA/GMVA; the corresponding call for the GBT can be found at the GBO Call for Proposals.

Change to the Science Categories

The ETP science category will be split into two in order to manage the increasing number of proposals received in this science area. The new categories will be:
GWT – Gravitational Waves and Energetic Transients: supernovae, gravitational wave sources, gamma-ray bursts, tidal disruption events, fast radio bursts, exotic/unknown transients.
PCO – Pulsars and Compact Objects: millisecond pulsars, cataclysmic variables, black hole and/or neutron star x-ray binaries, pulsar timing, pulsar proper motion.

All proposals submitted on or after 4 January 2019 will need to specify one of the following nine science categories: SSP, GWT, PCO, SFM, ISM, NGA, EGS, AGN or HIZ.


New Opportunities

Joint Observations with XMM-Newton Project

By agreement with the NRAO and GBO Observatories, detailed in a Memorandum of Understanding, the XMM-Newton Project may award up to 3% of NRAO/GBO open skies observing time.  Similarly the NRAO/GBO 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

Access to the Joint Observing program will continue for the VLA, VLBA and GBT for semester 19B.

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.  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 VLA, GBT, and VLBA

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.