Call for JCMT Proposals for Semester 13B
Call for Proposals for Observing Time
For telescope time in Semester 13B (1st August 2013 - 31st January 2014)
the closing date for receipt of proposals is
Friday 15 March 2013
22:30 GMT, 18:30 EDT, 15:30 PDT, 12:30 HST
(Applicants from the University of Hawaii have a different deadline).
NEWS for 13B
Semester 13B at the JCMT will provide the last opportunity to observe during
months of October through January, inclusive, under the present
Proposers are therefore encouraged to take advantage of this scarce opportunity to
utilize the JCMT.
Given the fixed time constraint, programmes that are unlikely to be substantially
completed before September 2014 will be rejected during the review
Proposers are encouraged to emphasize the level of
required to enable scientifically useful investigations,
and the practicality of achieving completion.
It is extremely unlikely that unfinished programmes from earlier
semesters will be completed.
Therefore, all PI programmes from previous semesters will be de-activated
on 01 August 2013, regardless of weather band.
Users with unfinished observing programmes from previous semesters should
applying specifically to complete their programmes. They should explain how the
observations acquired to date bolster the argument for completion of the project,
and/or how new data are essential to complement the old. All such proposals
will compete for observing time with new proposals received in this (13B) round.
(Proposals recently granted long-term status into 13B do not need resubmitting).
Projects which request the heterodyne instruments and/or weather
bands 4 and 5 are encouraged. Note that the SCUBA-2 JCMT Legacy
Surveys require weather bands 1,2,3 at all RAs, and band 4
throughout the B-semesters.
The observatory anticipates an increased demand for regional service observing time
as the end of the present operations approaches. In order to ensure fair
comparative treatment of proposals, proposers are strongly encouraged to submit
proposals now, rather than service observing proposals during the semester. The
threshold for the approval of service proposals is expected to be very high and to
favour new, short and self-contained, science.
- Be sure to submit your proposal to the
correct national queue.
Submitting to the wrong queue may result in the rejection of the
- Applicants are urged to itemize explicitly, in the Technical section of the
proposal, their inputs to their integration time calculations.
This is essential to allow the assigned Technical Assessor to confirm the
The JCMT Board has decided that the science goals of
are all to be protected from duplication. If proposed targets overlap with
those in the programmes above - as determined using the
- applicants should ensure that
sufficient justification is given in the proposal as to how and why the
proposed observations and science differ from these projects. See
for complete details on how to check for such overlap.
- the JCMT Legacy Surveys (JLS),
- the Guaranteed Time (GT) for the SCUBA-2 and POL-2 commissioning teams, and
- the Staff Time (ST) awarded by the JCMT Board to JCMT staff
for their role in the commissioning of SCUBA-2
- JCMT operates a 12-hour night, running from approximately
7:30pm to 7:30am HST. Earlier starts may compromise short-wavelength
data. This table
shows source transit times during semester B.
- Your proposal must specify the weather conditions (read
opacity) that it requires or can tolerate.
The amount of time
available per weather/opacity band varies through the
Available Instrumentation and Observing Modes
Continuum Receivers -
(simultaneous 450µm & 850µm imaging)
- The SCUBA-2 Fourier Transform Spectrometer (expected to be fully commisioned by the start of 13B)
- The SCUBA-2 Polarimeter (expected to be fully commisioned by the start of 13B)
Heterodyne Receivers -
Several modes of heterodyne observing and several switching schemes are
supported and are described at
Calculating Integration Times
Integration time calculators or formulae are available, for
They should be used to calculate the integration time needed to reach a
given RMS per channel or beam or output-map pixel as a function of receiver, frequency,
observing mode, elevation and sky opacity.
The JCMT Observing Tool
gives equivalent results for all instruments except FTS-2 and POL-2.
- Overheads for pointing, focussing, and calibrations should
not be added to the time request. These activities will be accounted for separately.
observations (eg. focus, pointing, flux calibrators) and other unavoidable overheads (eg receiver
tuning) are no
longer charged to science projects and instead are
charged to an observatory accounting code. There is therefore no need for
applicants to provide calibration overhead estimates in their proposals.
The observatory will perform regular and appropriate calibration
observations to ensure that all science data obtained
are sensibly calibrated.
Spectroscopically, this involves observations of
one of our
Spectral Line Standards
at one of about ten different
standard line frequencies
If your programme frequency is one of these, then you're decidely in luck.
In any case, the calibration allows you to assess the performance of the
instrument. We will perform such an observation at least once per
programme unless a previous calibration is still appropriate, and more
often if circumstances change or if more than a couple
of hours pass.
- For continuum work, continuum calibrators will be observed
at both operational wavelengths of SCUBA-2 (450µm, 850µm) at appropriate
times and airmass to meet the general needs of the science programmes.
If a proposal demands more
unusual or more frequent calibrations then this needs to be
clearly stated in the proposal and the time for these calibrations
requested explicitly. If you have queries about what our default
calibrations might be or what extra overheads are generated by
your calibration requirements please get in touch with us.
Avoiding conflicts with protected science
The JCMT Board has decided that the science goals of the JLS, GT
projects are to be protected against duplication by PI projects,
and that scientific merit should be the guiding principle in
cases of overlap. No regions of the sky are
off-limits, but PIs who submit proposals to observe fields or science
claimed by the protected projects will be required to provide
additional justification for so doing. If that justification is
not provided or is insufficient, time will not be awarded. It is
anticipated that time will normally be awarded to PIs in such
cases only when the observations represent an extension of the
protected projects: e.g., in depth, in area or in frequency. (Note
that these rules do not apply to the University of Hawaii queue.)
Applicants may identify potential conflicts using a web-based
Clash Detector tool. Note, however, that the tool
reports only positional clashes. To determine whether
a reported clash constitutes a real conflict a
comparison should also be made with the project depths at
Availability of time and Opacity Statistics
With approval of the JCMT Board, the JCMT Legacy Surveys will take 65% of
the telescope time available in 13B after deduction of E&C and UH allocations.
The hours available to do science in each national queue during 13B are
likely to be as follows:
Summer months on Mauna Kea tend to be wetter than winter months.
For how much time is generally available in certain weather bands at
certain times of the year: click here (discussion
reprinted from the Spring 2007 issue of the JCMT
For example, during average winter months (Dec-April) 10-15%
of the time is band 1, while in summertime the fraction is under
5%. Good weather is more frequent during
El Nino. About 15% of the time we encounter band 5 weather, and as much
again is lost entirely to bad weather.
The Northstar, web-based proposal submission and management system
was imported from ASTRON to JAC, and has
handled recent proposal rounds. Poor server access for a small number of
applicants in the initial rounds has been overcome;
we urge applicants experiencing problems in submission to contact us
as soon as possible.
All users are advised to
check and update
as soon as Northstar becomes available for the 13B round.
As mentioned in our
Help page, you may, at first, have to accept the server certificate to
gain access to Northstar.
Except for the University of Hawaii, all proposals should be submitted
If you have a Northstar account already you can
login using your username and password; new users should
Help regarding the submission process
here - - -
and in our
Help pages !
Results are sent to applicants following the national TAG meetings
(which are usually in May or November) and after ratification
at the ITAC meeting (June or December).
To Which Queue Should You Send Your Application?:
Proposals should be submitted to the United Kingdom-,
the Canadian-, or the International- queue, depending on the
primary funding agency of the Principal Investigator (PI) or
- If the PI is employed by a UK or Canadian institution
then submit the proposal to the UK or Canadian queue
- If the PI is not employed by a UK or Canadian institution,
but at least one of the Co-Is is employed by an institution from one
of these two countries, then submit the proposal to the
national queue of the first-named of those Co-Is.
- If neither the PI nor any of the Co-Is is employed by an
institution in the UK or Canada, then the proposal must be submitted to the
- Employees of the JAC are considered as 'International', unless
they are the PI.
- If you are in any doubt about where to submit, then please
e-mail Iain Coulson.
Proposals sent to the wrong queue risk being rejected, as do proposals
using font sizes smaller than those
Observer Status and Flexible Observing
All queues now operate using dedicated observing blocks.
The observer during these blocks is usually associated with
one of the high-priority programmes to be observed,
but is effectively running the entire (national)
queue in a flexible manner. All applicants should
anticipate the possibility that they may or may not be asked to be
an observer for their national queue.
Requests for 'classical' observer status should be explained in
the "Scheduling Preferences" section of the proposal.
The overall philosophy of observing at JCMT is to match
observing programmes to the weather; our
Flexible Observing Guidelines are recommended reading for
all visitors to JCMT observing in all queues (except Univ. of Hawaii).
The JCMT Users e-mail exploder:
From time to time, subscribers to the 'jcmt_users' email list will
receive notices on the status of the JCMT, call for proposals,
etc. To subscribe, please visit http://mailman.jach.hawaii.edu/mailman/listinfo/jcmt_users
If you've read all this and still have questions about the
scheduling, the submission deadlines, the procedures, etc -
please contact me.