Keck Call for Proposals

February 29, 2016
From: Claire Max, UC Observatories Director

Second Semester 2016B
(August 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017)

Deadline: Proposals are due on Monday March 21, 2016 by 5:00 p.m.

Proposal Information

Proposals for UC observing time on the Keck Telescopes are due by 5pm on Monday March 21st. The principal consideration in evaluating proposals will be the scientific merit of the proposed project. Projects that take maximum advantage of the unique capabilities of the Keck Telescopes will be given high weight. A brief description should be given of backup programs that will be carried out if conditions are not suitable for the primary program. Please see: for the UC on-line proposal submission process. The application process will end promptly at 5:00 P.M. on Monday, March 21, 2016.

We expect a total of 58.5 UC nights on Keck I and 57.0 nights on Keck II.

Keck is continuing the login-password system to allow you to retrieve and modify your cover-sheets. Returning observers should use the same account information as last semester. New observers may request an account from the login page:

The coversheet form is available through the login page link above. Once you have created a coversheet, please go to the instructions for submitting Keck proposals at: to create the rest of your proposal as a PDF file to upload to the UC proposal server.

Please consult for current policies regarding LMAP proposals, and for policies regarding Target of Opportunity proposals (also called Time Domain Astronomy projects). The Keck partners are in the process of broadening UC's ToO landscape by allowing observers from one partner institution to interrupt observers from another partner institution, thus increasing the probability that a particular transient event can be observed. This began in Semester 2015B, with UC and Caltech sharing ToO interrupts. It may be increased to involve further partners for Semester 2016B.

The Keck Science Steering Committee is also interested in developing a more responsive system for "Cadence Observing." This category consists of programs that include brief but ongoing synoptic monitoring of specific targets, or short observations of special events such as eclipses of planetary moons etc. In the past these observations have been difficult to schedule because they are short (typically an hour or less) and must be fit in with other whole-night or even half-night projects. If there is sufficient demand by UC observers for this sort of project, we will investigate the possibility of combining Cadence Observing programs with Caltech and other Keck partners.

Please see the following web page for detailed notes on the current instruments:

Instruments available on Keck 1 for Semester 2016B are: HIRESb (blue x-disperser) HIRESr (red x-disperser), LRIS-ADC (red and blue, with ADC) LRISp-ADC (polarimeter, with ADC), OSIRIS-NGS (see OSIRIS note below), OSIRIS-LGS (see OSIRIS note below), MOSFIRE.

Instruments available on Keck 2 Semester 2016B are: DEIMOS, ESI, ESIi (ESI with the Integral Field Unit), NIRSPEC (without AO - see note below), NIRSPAO-NGS (NIRSPEC with Natural Guide Star AO), NIRSPAO-LGS (NIRSPEC with Laser Guide Star AO; see Keck II LGS note below), NIRC2-NGS, NIRC2-LGS (see Keck II LGS note below).

Subaru and Keck will continue their exchange of nights as in past semesters, with the number of exchange nights being determined by the demand of both institutions. You will find further details below.

Particular notes for the 2016B semester follow, and are also posted at:

Visitor Instruments: WMKO will not support any visitor instruments during semester 2016B.

Keck II Laser: LGSAO on Keck II is available throughout the full semester of 2016B with no restrictions. The commissioning of the new Toptica fiber laser on Keck II is going well and we anticipate the project to complete, with the laser fully integrated, tested, and ready for science.

Keck I Laser: A new infrared tip/tilt (IR T/T) sensor will be available for "shared-risk" operation in 2016B. The details of use and performance can be found in the following pdf document: Usage of this T/T sensor is currently restricted to science observations short of K-band since the K-band light is needed for the IR T/T sensor (a K-band science mode is also planned). A visible wavelength guide star within 60" of the science target is still required for all LGSAO operations. The IR and visible star (they can be the same or different) coordinates should be included in the starlist.

OSIRIS will be unavailable for science from January 1, 2017 through May 1, 2017 for the upgrade to the imager detector.

Time exchange with Subaru: FOCAS, HDS, MOIRCS (shared risk), IRCS (with NGS/LGSAO with 188 elements), COMICS, and Hyper Suprime-Cam (limited) will be available. Through an exchange with the Subaru Observatory, exchange nights may be available to observers who would like to use any of these instruments. Subaru time may be traded for time on both Keck telescopes, the exact number of nights depending both on the Keck and the Subaru demand. Please check the Subaru web site for detailed descriptions of these instruments, and the web site for instrument restrictions, particularly for MOIRCS. Neither Keck nor Subaru will support Target of Opportunity (ToO) observations during the exchanged nights. All observations will be executed in "classical" observing mode. Due to primary mirror recoating, Subaru is unavailable for use from early August to early October. During semester 2016B, Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) will be available during the following dark times: late July - early August, late Oct - early Nov, late Nov - early Dec, late Dec - early Jan, and late Jan - early Feb. Suprime Cam and FMOS are unavailable in 2016B, with FMOS scheduled for decommissioning.

Keck LGS-AO: A detailed set of guidelines for LGS-AO nights and information on the capabilities of the systems may be found on the LGS-AO web page: Backup programs for LGS proposals are essential. Backup programs for LGS may be either NGS programs or non-AO (seeing limited) NIRSPEC on Keck II or NGS programs or HIRES on Keck I.

NIRSPAO is scheduled in campaign mode given limited demand for this configuration. If there are insufficient requests for its use, NIRSPAO may not be scheduled in a given semester.

KOA (Keck Observatory Archive): Data from all instruments will be archived in the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA). The default proprietary period for all data is 18 months. If observers desire a different proprietary period they may request this through the Keck coversheet. Please see the KOA homepage: for information on the archive, as well as the pdf document: information on the KOA proprietary period policy.

Sincerely yours,
Claire Max UCO Director