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PATT 2007B Call For Proposals

1900 GMT 05 March 2007

The Liverpool 2.0 metre fully robotic telescope sited at Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma, Canary Islands is now accepting proposals for Semester 2007B (1-Aug-2007 to 31-Jan-2008).

Time available and deadline
The deadline for submission is 30 March 2007.
The time available to UK applicants through PATT will be approximately 180 hours. An additional 50 hours may be available if engineering work is scheduled to begin after semester 07B (to be decided).

Proposal process
Applications are submitted in two phases:

Phase 1 - the science definition phase
Phase 1 proposals are sent to the TAG outlining the science case for observation and, in particular, why they are suitable for a robotic telescope.

  • See http://telescope.livjm.ac.uk/PropInst/phase1.php for instructions on how to prepare and submit your Phase 1 proposal.
  • Please note that a new version of the LaTeX style file for PATT submissions was introduced in semester 2007A.
  • Please note the requirement to specify a "minimum usable fraction" (see below).
Phase 2 - the observation specification phase
The principal investigators of proposals that were successful in Phase 1 will sent instructions by the LT technical team on how to complete Phase 2 of the submission process.

Rank Definition
Successful proposals are entered into the observing queue with one of three rankings:
  A High priority programme. The TAC would like to see 100% completion of the observations.
  B Medium priority programme. The TAC would like to see at least the MUF (Minimum Usable Fraction) of observations obtained, provided this does not impact of the completion of priority A programmes.
  C Low priority programmes. These programmes are used to over-subscribe the observing queue so that the telescope is not idle. There is no guarantee that any observations will be obtained. If observations are started for a programme then the scheduling software should aim to obtain at least the MUF of the observations, but not at the expense of 100% completion of priority A or B programmes. There will be 82-99 hours of time available for Band C programmes in semester 2007B, spread equally across all observing conditions.

Minimum Usable Fraction (MUF)
The MUF (minimum usable fraction) was introduced by the PATT TAC to help the LT technical team schedule observations effectively, e.g., to decide whether to finish the observations for one programme or to start a new programme that may not be completed. Proposers are asked to specify the MUF for their programme in the technical case of their phase 1 proposal. For example, the MUF can be used to specify that "any observations would be usable" (MUF=1%), or "a complete of nearly complete sample is essential to achieve the science goals" (MUF=90%). The TAC may revise the MUF of successful proposals if they feel this is appropriate.

Instrument Availability
The instruments available are RATCam, SupIRCAM and RINGO:

  • RATCam is an optical CCD camera with a 4.6 x 4.6 arcmin field of view.
  • SupIRCAM is an infrared camera operating at J or H band with a 1.7 x 1.7 arcmin field of view.
  • The RINGO polarimeter is an JMU Astrophysics Research Institute internally-funded fast-track instrument. It is an expert user instrument. Potential users should contact the LT Support Astronomer directly to discuss the capability of the instrument and feasibility of the observing programme before submitting an observing proposal.
Information on all three instruments is available here.

Telescope Performance
The current rms pointing of the LT is 6 arcsec. The current tracking performance provides seeing-limited images (FWHM < 0.8 arcsec) for exposures up to 1 minute without the auto-guider (open loop) and up to 30 minutes with the auto-guider (closed loop). Individual exposures with the auto-guider are limited to 30 minutes.

Telescope Reliability
Over the past 12 months, downtime due to technical difficulties has been 11%; 2% has been scheduled downtime; for semester 2006B (likely to be comparable with 2007B) downtime due to weather was 39%; the remaining time, 48% the telescope was fully operational.

Observing Conditions
We welcome applications for all available observing modes, conditions and RA ranges, particularly those that take advantage of the robotic nature of the LT. The PATT time available is spread equally between all observing conditions. Good/Dark time tends to be the most over-subscribed, there is much less competition for observations that can be done in bright and/or spectroscopic conditions.