Call for Proposals: UC time on the Keck telescopes

To: Observers on the Keck telescopes
From: Claire Max, UCO Director
Date: February 9th, 2018

Semester 2018B
(August 1, 2018 through January 31, 2019)

Deadline: Proposals are due on Friday, March 9th, 2018 by 5:00 pm PST

1.0 General Considerations
Please pay close attention to these instructions, as several items have changed.

1.1 Due Date and Proposal Process
Proposals for UC observing time on the Keck Telescopes for Semester 2018B are due by 5:00 pm PST on Friday March 9th, 2018.

The principal consideration in evaluating proposals will be the scientific merit of the proposed project. Projects that take maximum advantage of the unique capabilities of the Keck Telescopes will be weighted more highly. For Semester 2018B we expect a total of 62.5 UC nights on Keck I and 59 UC nights on Keck II.

Please see for the UC online proposal submission process. Keck is continuing the login-password system to allow you to retrieve and modify your coversheets. Returning observers should use the same account information as last semester. New observers may request an account from the login page: The coversheet form is available through a link on the login page above. Note that the coversheet has been modified again this semester, so please pay close attention when filling it out. Once you have created a coversheet and are logged in, go to the instructions for submitting Keck proposals: to create the rest of your proposal as a PDF file to upload to the UC proposal server. For a description of the required sections of the proposal, see

1.2 Time Domain Astronomy (TDA)
Observers will continue to have the ability to propose Target of Opportunity (ToO) and Cadence programs. These must be noted on the cover sheet. Revised policies related to Target of Opportunity or Cadence proposals can be found at

Targets of Opportunity: Four Keck partners (UC, Caltech, UH, and NASA) have agreed that TAC-approved ToO projects will be able to interrupt observers from any of the four institutions, to increase the utility of the ToO process. These are called Partnership TDA proposals. For Semester 2018B, proposals for ToO time and Cadence time will be handled separately. There is not a limit to the number of ToO interrupts of fellow UC observers, but there is a limit of six triggers for Partnership ToO observations in 2018B.

Cadence: Cadence programs are directed at objects for which short (< 1 night) repeated observations during a semester are scientifically necessary. The Cadence observing protocol is only intended for observations that can be anticipated and scheduled in advance. Caltech, NASA, UC, and UH researchers can propose to their respective TACs for observing-time intervals in units of whole, 3/4, 1/2, or 1/4 nights. In addition, PI’s can propose for Partnership Snapshot cadence observations, each of ≤ 1 hour in duration. These should be requested for the start or the end of the night, unless it is essential for the science program to be otherwise scheduled. Each institution’s TAC may award a total of six Partnership Snapshot observations each semester.

If your project involves both Classical and TDA observing, you MUST submit two separate cover sheets so that the Keck TDA software can clearly distinguish between the two. Instead of submitting the same text twice, please submit the actual proposal text under the Classical cover sheet; the text submitted under the TDA (ToO or Cadence) cover sheet should merely include the proposal title, PI, and proposal number, together with a sentence stating that the main text can be found under the proposal number of the Classical cover sheet. The Cover Sheet form will not let you submit one proposal requesting both Classical and TDA observing time.

1.3 Changes to the Technical Remarks Section
Changes to the Technical Remarks section first made in 2018A will be continued in semester 2018B. These include page limits and a brief optional, but recommended, section describing activities in the service of UCO. These changes are described at Large Multi-Year Project (LMAP) programs are UC observing projects with well-defined scientific objectives that require a large number of nights to bring to completion (normally 10 or more nights per semester). The UC LMAP program allows projects extending for more than one semester to be carried out with multi-year approval from the beginning. LMAPs should generally be directed toward obtaining a high quality, coherent, homogeneous data set that will allow scientific questions of major importance to be addressed in a thorough, systematic manner. Please consult for current policies regarding LMAPs.

2.0 Notes on Instruments and Availability
Please see the following web page for detailed notes on the availability of current instruments for 2018B: Instrument descriptions are at

Keck I instruments for 2018B are: HIRESb (blue x-disperser), HIRESr (red x-disperser), LRIS-ADC (red and blue, with ADC), LRISp-ADC (polarimeter, with ADC), MOSFIRE, OSIRIS-NGS and OSIRIS-LGS (see LGS note below).

Keck II instruments for 2018B are: DEIMOS, ESI, ESIi (ESI with the Integral Field Unit), KCWI, NIRC2-NGS, NIRC2-LGS (NIRC2-NGS/LGS is available with use of the vector vortex coronagraph if requested), NIRES, NIRSPEC (without AO), NIRSPAO-NGS, NIRSPAO-LGS. See notes in Section 3.0 below for NIRSPEC and LGS restrictions.

Subaru exchange: The Subaru-Keck time exchange will continue, with flexibility as to the number of nights available for exchange. The final number will be determined based on the demand from each community. Keck will offer Subaru users LRIS, HIRES, OSIRIS, and MOSFIRE on Keck I, and DEIMOS, ESI, NIRSPEC, KCWI, NIRES, and NIRC2 on Keck II. Subaru will offer FOCAS, HDS, MOIRCS, IRCS (with NGS/LGS AO-188 elements), SCExAO, CHARIS, COMICS, IRD (new – see below), and Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC). Subaru may support half night allocations, but whole night allocations are preferred. For HSC programs, Subaru may support "queue" observing mode, if specified in the proposal. Although this mode is in shared-risk for Keck users in 2018B (Subaru will try their best but cannot guarantee the completion or provide any compensation), queue- mode may allow more flexible allocation such as e.g. very short 0.25 night requests. Please check the HSC queue mode website for further details.

3.0 Notes on specific Instruments and Capabilities

Visitor Instruments: WMKO will not support any visitor instruments during semester 2018B.

NIRES: please see for information on planning your run.

NIRSPEC will be not be available for use from August 1 through early December while it undergoes an upgrade to several components of the instrument.

Keck LGS-AO: Guidelines for LGS-AO nights and information on the capabilities of the systems may be found on the LGS-AO web pages: Backup programs for LGS nights are essential. Backup programs for LGS may be either NGS programs or non-AO (seeing limited) NIRSPEC observations on Keck II or either NGS-AO OSIRIS programs or HIRES on Keck I. NIRSPAO will be scheduled in campaign mode given limited demand for this configuration. If there are insufficient requests for its use, NIRSPAO may not be scheduled in 2018B.

Subaru IRD (Infrared Doppler for the Subaru Telescope): Subaru will offer their new PI instrument, IRD, for shared risk science. IRD is an IR high-dispersion fiber-fed spectrometer, 0.97 microns to 1.75 microns, maximum 70,000 spectral resolution. Information can be found here:

KOA (Keck Observatory Archive): Data from all instruments will be archived in the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA). The default proprietary period for all data is 18 months. If observers desire a different proprietary period they may request this through the Keck coversheet. Please see the KOA homepage: for information on the archive, and for information on the KOA proprietary period policy.

Claire Max
Director, University of California Observatories