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Telescope Proposals


Standard Telescope Time Application

To apply for telescope time on the optical/IR telescopes in the normal scheduling cycle, potential observers must submit a proposal to the Steward Observatory Telescope Allocation Committee, which then provides recommendations for scheduling to the Director who approves a final schedule. Programs are scheduled on a semester timescale, roughly from January through July and August through December. Proposals for time on the ARO radio telescopes are submitted to the ARO TAC for recommendations to the Director. 

We currently accept applications from faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students at UA, ASU, and NAU.

How To Propose: Optical/IR Telescopes

To apply for observing time on Arizona's optical/IR telescopes for the period of Jan through July 2017 (mid-January for some telescopes) submit proposals (electronically only) by noon on October 3, 2016. Electronic submission is required and involves uploading your filled in (tex) version of the proposal form as well as the processed pdf to this web page (the password is available in the email proposal announcement or from the TAC chair).

The available telescopes include LBT, Magellan I and II, MMT, UKIRT, 90", VATT, 61", 60", and Minnesota 60"

An Observer's Web site has been established to assist in proposal preparation. The information is slightly out of date, although links are available to the web sites of the individual major telescopes) and proposers should confirm the availability of instrumentation if there is any doubt. Available information includes proposal instructions, updates about instruments and their availability, the scheduling process, dates for Bright/Gray/Dark time, etc. Feedback about this site is welcomed.

Make sure to download the current LaTeX2e proposal template (v1.32) soprop.tex and class files soprop.cls. These are required to produce the pdf file that is uploaded for the electronic submission. Using an older version of the templates will result in your proposal not being processed by the automated account.

The macro psfig.sty can be obtained at

Additional Guidelines for Submission

- do not use commas in any coverpage entry field in soprop.tex

- no line breaks in the proposal title (make sure the closing parenthesis is on the same line)

- use approved telescope names (as listed in soprop.tex)

- name your files using your first initial and last name (e.g. jdoe.tex and jdoe.pdf). If you submit multiple different proposals use numbers to differentiate (e.g. jdoe1.tex, jdoe2.tex). Keep names to less than 30 characters and do not use special characters or spaces in the filenames.

- if you submit your files and find that you need to make a change, submit the revised files with the same name. This will not overwrite your previous submission but will create a version with a higher version number. We will then use the highest version number submission. Do not submit the same proposal under a different name.

For more information, follow the link to "Proposal Information" on the right.

How To Propose: Radio Telescopes

The 10-meter Heinrich Hertz Submm Telescope ("SMT") on Mt Graham and the ALMA prototype 12-meter antenna on Kitt Peak are scheduled separately from the optical/IR telescopes. For technical information, and proposal instructions and a fillable cover sheet, see the ARO proposal web page.


Proposers should be aware of the following changes:

- The proposal form has a new section for additional information related to the program that may not have fit by topic into other sections.

- The 2.3m Bok telescope will have a significant portion of its dark and grey time allocated in 16B to the BSS program. We recommend that proposers consider using the imagers at the Kuiper or Lennon (VATT) telescopes, the spectrograph at the Lennon (VATT) telescope, or SPOL at the Kuiper as alternatives.

- MMIRS is now available at the MMT. Contact Brian McLeod (CfA) if you intend to propose. Be aware that it is run in queue mode, although you will be assigned a certain number of night (similar to the situation with the Hecto spectrographs). Because MMIRS has moved to the MMT, it is highly unlikely that there will be any f/5 observing (e.g. Megacam) at Magellan in 2016 and beyond.

- UA is allocated 10% of the UKIRT time, but there is also some time that is pooled among the operating partners. This time is primarily intended for collaborative programs among the operating partners, although UA-only programs can sometimes be awarded time from this pool.

- M2FS proposals for Magellan require PI (Mario Mateo, UMichigan) approval and require agreeing to specific guidelines. Please contact him well in advance of the proposal deadline.

- The instrument scheduling situation at UKIRT is fluid although the full suite of instruments is available. Contact Richard Green for more complete and current information.

- Proposers may request long-term status for up to 2 years on the 60 and 61 inch telescopes. There is no opportunity currently for long-term status on any other telescope. Proposers must justify the need for long-term status based on the science, not simply on the scale of the program. Proposers seeking long-term status must specify the runs requested in the same manner as done for the current term. Scheduling of runs in subsequent semesters is conditional on approved yearly progress reports and scheduling constraints. The TAC will decide separately on the ranking of the proposal for the upcoming semester and long-term status.

- There will be no scheduled MagAO science time in 16B



TBS Time

On the occasions when some time remains unscheduled, members of Steward Observatory may apply for TBS (To Be Scheduled) nights on the Steward Observatory 90", 61", and 60" telescopes, or UAOTBS nights on the MMT.Please send TBS requests to Paul Smith (  Request should contain a brief scientific justification. Only in cases of multiple requests to use the same time and facilities will TBS requests be forwarded to the Associate Director for a decision.  Please also note that TBS requests requiring instrument changes may not be accepted depending on the work load of the Mountain Operations staff during the relevant time period.  TBS requests made within the 21-day limit that require an instrument change or any sizable intervention by Mtn. Ops. staff are highly discouraged. Exceptions to this policy may be made in the event of important transitory astrophysical events and handled at the Director/Associate Director level with the consultation of the Mtn.  To clarify the TBS deadline system: it is 21 days before the first night of a TBS block if there are multiple contiguous nights available on a telescope.  TBS nights will not be granted to observers who are not certified on the telescope/instrument unless the request identifies a certified observer that will be present at the telescope during the entire period requested.  That is, proof of certification must come before a observer even submits a request for TBS time unless a certified observer who will actually handle the observations is identified. To apply for TBS nights on the VATT, contact Richard Boyle ( AND Paul Smith.