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PATT Call for Proposals for Semester 2013A 1600 BST 17th September 2012

The Liverpool Telescope Time Allocation Committee is now accepting proposals for PATT time for observations in Semester 2013A (1st February 2013 to 31st July 2013). You may also apply for Reactive Time at any time, as described at the end of this call.

Note that a new version (v0.5) of the application form (with updated instrument choices plus revised sky and seeing constraints) must be used. Applications made with the old form will be automatically rejected. See here for further Phase 1 details about the new form, and download links for the template and style file.

Time available and deadline

The deadline for submission is Thursday 4th October 2012 at 15:00 UT.

The total available time for PATT users in 2013A is around 400 hours, however 143 hours have already been allocated in previous rounds, leaving 257 hours available to be allocated. Time is allocated approximately in ratio 2:1 between Priority A and B. In addition another 120 hours will be available as Priority C (backup). Applications are particularly encouraged for brighter sky conditions, which are typically less subscribed.

Instrument availability

  • The new 10x10 arcmin optical imager IO:O will be the primary imaging CCD camera available this semester. Updates on the status of the instrument are regularly posted on the telescope website. Sloan u’ g’ r’ i’ z’, Bessel B and V, a rest wavelength Hα plus four redshifted Hα filters are available.
  • As announced in the last call for proposals, we will not be offering RATCam in Semester 2013A. The instrument is now over 10 years old and requires constant maintenance to keep operational that is no longer feasible.
  • The IO:THOR electron multiplying CCD camera will be available as a common user instrument for the first time. This has a small field of view (~2 x 2 arcmin) with very fast readout.
  • FRODOSpec is the multi-purpose integral-field input spectrograph providing observations at 380 to 1000 nm in either low (~2400) or high (~5400) resolution mode. The IFU provides a 12 12 lenslet array over a total field of view ~10 arcsec.
  • The RINGO3 polarimeter provides polarimetry with a similar sensitivity and field of view to RINGO2 but in three optical wavebands simultaneously
  • RISE is fast-readout camera developed in collaboration with Queens University Belfast. It has a fixed "V+R" filter and reimaging optics giving a 7x7 arcmin field of view with a cycle time of less than 1 second. For exoplanet related proposals using RISE you must contact the telescope director Iain Steele or instrument PI Don Pollacco for approval before submitting your proposal.

Full information on all instruments is available from this page.

All instruments are now designated common user, but potential users are welcome to contact the LT Support Astronomers, directly via the Phase 1 address (phase1@astro.ljmu.ac.uk) to discuss the capability of the instrument and feasibility of the observing programme well before submitting an observing proposal.


The telescope routinely observes standard stars with IO:O and RINGO3. These standards will be taken in all of the broadband filters. NO routine standards will be taken for other instruments. Observers who wish to obtain standards, apart from those that are routinely observed, will need to include observations of these standards in their own programmes.

Proposal process

Applications are submitted in two phases:

Phase 1 – the science definition phase

Phase 1 proposals are sent to the Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC) outlining the science case for observation and why they are suitable for a robotic telescope.

  • See telescope.ljmu.ac.uk/PropInst/ for instructions on how to prepare and submit your Phase 1 proposal.
  • Please note the requirement to specify a Minimum Usable Fraction (see below).
  • Please note the guidance on Maximum Group Length, but users with a particularly strong case should not be put off by this constraint.

Phase 2 – the observation specification phase

Once the TAC has approved proposals, users can enter observation requests using the Phase 2 User Interface, an online Java tool to program observation instructions and transmit them directly to the telescope.

Priority Definition

Successful proposals are entered into the observing queue with one of three rankings:
AHigh priority programmes. The TAC would like to see 100% completion of the observations.
BMedium priority programmes. The TAC would like to see at least the MUF (see below) of observations obtained, provided this does not impact on the completion of priority A programmes.
CLow 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 approximately an additional 120 hours available for priority C programmes in semester 2013A, spread across all observing conditions.

Minimum Usable Fraction

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. Please specify the MUF for your programme in the technical case of the Phase 1 proposal. For example, the MUF can be used to specify that “any observations would be usable” (MUF=1%), or “a complete or nearly complete sample is essential to achieve the science goals” (MUF=90%). The TAC may revise the MUF of successful proposals.

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.

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. From Semester 2013A onwards we do not require applicants to break down time by seeing and sky brightness categories. Instead please just list the worst acceptable sky brightness and seeing that is applicable for the majority of the observations in your proposal.

Reactive time proposals

Separate to the PATT twice-annual process, observers may also apply for Reactive time, typically no more than 3 hours by following this link:

Reactive Time Programme Setup

This is open to all users, regardless of their prior use of the LT or any time they may already have allocated. It is intended to allow completion of the science goals of existing programmes (with the LT or other telescope) especially where they enable completion of a publication, to allow observations of unforeseen phenomena as targets-of-opportunity, or to enable test observations prior to a full proposal. It is not to be used to apply for time denied in the normal round or for target-of-opportunity observations of known phenomena (e.g. novae, GRBs). The TAC aims to make a decision within 48 hours, and will generally respond more rapidly. Proposers should take account of the information on instrumentation etc. as per the standard application round and be able to demonstrate the feasibility of their proposal.

Please note that this time is not intended to enable proposers to submit later proposals that could have been submitted to previous open calls. In their justification for the request proposers should include a brief summary as to why the proposed observations were not submitted in the above call.

Dr Andrew Levan, Chair, PATT Liverpool Telescope Time Allocation Committee

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