Observation Preparation

If a proposal’s Disposition Letter indicates that time is allocated at a scheduling priority of A, B, C, or D then Observatory staff will convert the proposal to a project which is eligible to compete for time in the dynamic queue. All observations on Observatory facilities are executed using the concept of Scheduling Blocks (SBs), although the blocks may not be specifically called Scheduling Blocks. An accepted proposal might require tens or hundreds of Scheduling Blocks to gather the data necessary for exploring that project’s objectives.

It is the responsibility of the proposing team to prepare for observations. Proposers should review the technical and science comments that result from the review process when preparing their project for observation. Failing to create Scheduling Blocks will result in the awarded time to be forfeited. At any point in the project preparation process, a project may be withdrawn, and a NRAO Science Helpdesk ticket should be submitted in such an event.

Each facility may have unique requirements for preparing a project for observation. It is the responsibility of the proposing team to familiarize themselves with the requirements and resources that are relevant to their project. Users should submit a ticket to the NRAO Science Helpdesk if they have questions. The links below to should also be reviewed by users.


For specific policies concerning observer responsibilities, remote observing, observer assistance, student observing, and non-standard instrumentation and software, see https://greenbankobservatory.org/science/gbt-observers/observing/observing-policies/ and https://greenbankobservatory.org/science/gbt-observers/observing/ for observing preparation.


The proposing team is responsible for creating SBs ahead of the observing configuration. The Observation Preparation Tool (OPT) is the required online tool to prepare VLA observations. Observers should consult the references online when preparing for VLA projects: https://science.nrao.edu/facilities/vla/observing.


All VLBA observations begin with the program SCHED. When a satisfactory SCHED input file has been achieved, observers should email that input file to . Further resources are available online: