Call for Proposals to be supported via the OPTICON Trans-National Access programme in semester 2013B

The call for observing time at night time telescopes supported by the OPTICON Trans-National Access programme will close at exactly 23:59 UT on 28 February 2013 and no requests for late submissions will be accepted. The semester is centred on August 2013 to January 2014, but there are small variations at some telescopes to accommodate their normal semesters and maximise scheduling flexibility.

Proposals must meet certain EU and OPTICON rules for formal eligibility concerning team membership. Broadly speaking, the PI and at least half of the Co-I’s must be working at Institutions from EU member states or EU associated countries but which are outside the country/ies which own the telescope. Please also note the prohibition on projects which could be applied for by the PI using the national mechanisms open to them. If in doubt, contact the Project Scientist for clarification.

The maximum number of nights available at each facility is given in the table. It may be possible to move projects between telescopes to match scientific rating and demand. If your project can be done at more than one facility indicate in the technical case any alternate choices and note any technical issues such as changes in the time request which would result.

Nights available at each Facility in semester 2013B
Facility Maximum nights available Semester 2013B Notes
Isaac Newton Telescope (ORM, La Palma) 10 1 Aug – 31 Jan


William Herschel Telescope (ORM, La Palma) 6 1 Aug – 31 Jan Include required instrument configuration information in the technical case
Nordic Optical Telescope (ORM, La Palma) 20 1 Oct - 31 Mar Note that all 2013B applications to NOT from non-NOTSA astronomers must be made via OPTICON
Liverpool Telescope (ORM, La Palma) 50 hours 1 Aug – 31 Jan Request in hours. Robotic Telescope
Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (ORM, La Palma) 14 1 Aug – 31 Jan Can be service or visitor mode. Fractional nights can be requested in 1 hour blocks, assume 9hr per night
CAHA 2.2m (Calar Alto) 20 1 July – 31 Dec  
CAHA 3.5m (Calar Alto) 10 1 July – 31 Dec i) bright nights for any instrument (service or visitor modes)
ii) grey nights (with moon) under service mode for PMAS with the V500 and V1200 gratings (Califa setting)
Anglo-Australian Telescope. (Siding Spring) 10 1 Aug – 31 Jan Scientifically viable proposals that are not supported by the OPTICON TAC will be considered by the AAT TAC, but would not attract EC travel support
Observatoire de Haut Provence 1.93m 15 1 Sep – 28 Feb Note that all 2013B applications to OHP from non-French astronomers must be made via OPTICON and not via the local French process
Telescope Bernard Lyot (Pic du Midi) 7 1 Sep - 28 Feb Note that all 2013B applications to TBL from non-French astronomers must be made via OPTICON and not via the local French process
Canada France Hawaii Telescope (Mauna Kea) 5 1 Aug – 31 Jan Service mode. Please pay particular attention to overheads. MegaCam delivers 5.5hrs/night and WIRCAM 6hr/night
MPG/ESO 2.2 (La Silla) 10 1 Oct - 31 Mar  
Carlos Sanchez Telescope (Obs del Tiede, Tenerife) 7 1 Sep - 28 Feb  


You can see details of the types of instruments available at these and other telescopes by following this link to the Medium Telescopes Instrumentation Suite. Unless noted above, any instrument available to national users of an observatory may be requested. Please consult each observatory web-page.

Requests for multiple telescopes for the same scientific project must be included in a single proposal form. Request for projects with different scientific objectives should be made on separate proposal forms.

At present, please do not request long term status. Individual telescopes commit time to the observing pool on a semester by semester basis. We cannot assign 'long term' status as the TAC do not know for certain if sufficient nights on your telescope of choice will be available in future semesters. So please make a single semester proposal and make a note in the text that you will be re-applying in the future with a similar project.

Since the OPTICON Trans-National Access programme is limited by the EC funds available, it is possible that not all of these nights will be allocated at every facility.

Projects must be scientifically competitive and will be ranked based on scientific merit and technical feasibility by a special OPTICON international time allocation committee. OPTICON will attempt to schedule nights allocated by this committee subject to practical constraints on telescope and instrument availability. Due regard will be given to EC criteria regarding new users and users without similar national infrastructures. The oversubscription factor varies considerably between facilities and semesters but, as a guide, on average ~33% of proposals in recent rounds have been awarded time.

Successful proposers will receive travel funds as necessary for them to take up the observing time. This will normally be for a single observer. If travel support for more than one observer is required it will be necessary to get confirmation from the project office. Attention is drawn to a new OPTICON initiative for widening experience of observing techniques, the La Caille Scheme. Successful proposers will be invited, but are not required, to assist with this scheme (La Caille webpage).

For downstream processing by the individual observatories, successful proposers may be required to complete and submit either Phase 1 (application forms) or Phase 2 (detailed observing request) forms. In this situation the science case will not be re-evaluated but the forms will be used to extract practical information required for the observatory proposal reporting and scheduling databases.

Facilities not in this list are not offering OPTICON supported observing in this semester, even though they may have done so in the past and may do in the future. Some facilities have policies which allow international users to apply via their regular national proposal process or to specific international time which is not part of the OPTICON pool. Proposals made to and approved via non-OPTICON mechanisms will not qualify for OPTICON travel grant support. Note that the results of the OPTICON TAC review will be communicated to the national TACs to avoid undesirable duplication.

In the case of linked proposals (for example using national time to prepare for or follow-up an OPTICON-supported run) or where the OPTICON time available is insufficient for the project to be accomplished, please indicate your intention to make a linked application and explain why this is necessary.

The proposal software, a variant of the NORTHSTAR system already in use at several observatories, is available at the following url: You are required to register for an account (only minimal information is required) and you can then create, share and complete your proposal on-line. The form has a 'read me first' section of general information and number of built in help pages. The sample 'case for support' tex file contains a summary of what information is required in the scientific case. Large target lists can be uploaded as a suitably formatted file. In the case of large projects, or those with a large list of possible targets from which only a subset will be observed, upload only a sample of representative targets.

For general questions about the call, such as policies, rules and procedures look in our FAQ page (link in Footer below) and if this does not help you then contact

For specific practical information about telescopes/instruments, please contact the telescope directly.