Applying for ESO observing time

The Call for Proposals for Period 110 has been announced (for observations between 1 October 2022 – 31 March 2023). 

Proposal deadline

Friday 25 March 2022 at noon Central European Time (10pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time, 7pm Australian Western Standard Time).

Under the terms of the Strategic Partnership between ESO and Australia, Australian-based astronomers have access to the facilities of the La Silla and Paranal Observatories, specifically the:

  • 3.6-m telescope (3.6);

  • New Technology Telescope (NTT);

  • Very Large Telescope (VLT); and

  • Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI).

Proposals for ESO time to use the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) antenna on Chajnantor will also be considered on the same basis as those from any ESO member state. Note that P110 marks the final opportunity to apply for APEX time through ESO.

Complete details on how to apply can be found at the P110 Call for Proposals web page. All applicants should consult the Call for Proposals document for Period 110, and are required to update their ESO User Portal accounts to submit or be on proposals.

Any questions about policies or the practical aspects of proposal preparation should be addressed to the ESO Observing Programmes Office, [email protected]. Applicants who may wish to seek advice on proposal or observing strategies, optimal choice of instrument, etc. are invited to contact AAL’s ESO Program Manager at [email protected].

 

What’s new in Period 110?

Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the expected changes in instrumentation offered and procedures for Period 110 given in Sec. 1.1 of the Call for Proposals. Among the items likely to be of most interest to the Australian community are:

Distributed Peer Review: With effect from P110,  ESO is introducing a Distributed Peer Review (DPR) process for proposals requesting a total time (including overheads) of less than 16 hours, with the exception of proposals including at least one ToO run; proposals for Calibration Programmes; and DDT proposals. All other proposals submitted for P110 will be reviewed in the usual way by the OPC and its sub-panels. PIs of proposals qualifying for DPR accept that their proposals are reviewed by ten peers who have also submitted proposals in P110, and consent to reviewing ten proposals submitted by their peers as laid out in the DPR rules and guidelines. The PI may elect to delegate the reviewer’s role to one of the co-Is listed in the proposal.

Scientific keywords: Starting in P110, a new set of scientific keywords replaces the traditional 4 OPC categories. From the p1 interface users must select at least two keywords, and at most five keywords (ten for Large Programmes). The keywords must be selected in decreasing order of relevance (i.e., the first selected keyword is the most relevant).

New Large Programme proposals accepted in P110: Large Programme proposals (those seeking >100 hrs over 1-4 Periods) are only accepted once per year during the Call for even-numbered Periods. Large Programmes can be requested to start either in P110 or P111, but the programme can extend at most up to Period 113.

Proposal anonymisation: The Dual-Anonymous Peer Review (DAPR) is now fully deployed, after being introduced successfully in Period 108. Applicants must formulate the scientific rationales of their proposals following these anonymisation rules and examples, which includes a detailed description of the DAPR paradigm. Failure to abide by the DAPR rules may lead to the disqualification of the proposal.

GRAVITY dual-field wide mode: A new dual-field wide observing mode with GRAVITY is offered in P110 for the UTs and the small and astrometric configurations of the ATs. This mode allows fringe tracking from a target that is up to 30 arcsec away from the science target by using the VLTI Star Separators to separate the beams. Further details can be found on the GRAVITY webpages.

Survey Telescopes availability: ESO observing time on the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) with OmegaCAM is no longer offered. Due to the schedule for installation of 4MOST on VISTA, VIRCAM is also no longer offered, except for DDT proposals during part of P110.

Visitor Mode: Although requests for Visitor Mode may be submitted for P110, any scheduled runs may need to be executed in Designated Visitor Mode instead if travel restrictions are still in place.

Online La Silla Paranal Users Workshop – Getting Started with P110 Proposal Preparation: In conjunction with this Call, ESO is offering a short session on the latest information users need to write proposals for La Silla, Paranal, and APEX. This 1.5 hour session will happen on Friday March 11 2022 at noon CET (10pm AEDT, 7pm AWST) on Teams and cover the following topics:

  • News and changes in P110
  • Distributed Peer Review (DPR): what it is, and how it does (not) impact the preparation of proposals
  • APEX: why I should use this last chance to apply for time on this telescope

There is no registration fee but intending participants are invited to register in advance, or follow the link for the meeting on the workshop website.

 

Important Data Privacy Notice for all recent and intending Australian ESO applicants

ESO supplies AAL with telescope/instrument demand and time allocation data relating to Australian astronomers only. Australian ESO applicant data is used only for statistical purposes, and will only be published or made available to other third parties such as AAL member institutions, in aggregated and anonymised form. ESO’s data collection/use provisions are available on the AAL ESO Forum for reference. It may be necessary to use automated data matching from data provided to the Data Central Lens proposal database to confirm the identity of ESO applicants. Applicants may opt out of providing data for Australian statistical purposes (including those from P101-P109 inclusive) by contacting [email protected].