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Applying for time at NOT

Current Call for Proposals

The IAC and the NOT invite applications for joint IAC-Nordic proposals for observing time in semester 2016A. The deadline for receipt of the applications is

23 November 2015 at 17:00 UT

More details can be found at IAC-Nordic Observing Time

General Rules

It has been a long-standing policy at the NOT to accept observing proposals from anyone, regardless of nationality, affiliation, or status. Thus, projects by non-Nordic P.I.s typically received 10-12% of the Nordic observing time in open competition after peer review by the NOT OPC. In recent years, however, the demand from external European groups without competitive instrumentation has risen to the point where 'foreign' time at the NOT far exceeded the share available to any of the sponsoring countries, with little return of such favours for Nordic astronomers.

Plans for equitable time sharing arrangements with other competitive European 2-4m telescopes are being prepared through the ASTRONET and OPTICON. However, in the interim, the NOT Council has decided to limit outside access to the NOT to 15% of the total science time, excluding Spanish and technical time.

Moreover, to ensure equitable and competitive review of all eligible proposals for time at the NOT and all other European telescopes, the Council also decided that ALL non-Nordic proposals MUST be submitted through the OPTICON common proposal and evaluation system (see deadlines below and link to the latest call). Proposals submitted outside the OPTICON procedure will in future be considered only in exceptional cases. This policy will be reviewed and adjusted as appropriate, semester by semester.

As stipulated by the Associates that form the NOT Scientific Association, a contribution to the operations of the telescope will be required from the users. Furthermore, in accordance with the new NOTSA Agreement, the share of observing time for each Nordic Country is proportional to the contributions from the Associates. A description of the general rules for the allocation of observing time and user contributions can be found here. For proposals being allocated time through OPTICON the user contribution is covered by that programme.

The OPTICON Trans-National Access Programme:

EU flag  The OPTICON Trans-National Access Programme provides access for European, but non-Nordic users to NOT and several other European telescopes with support from the European Union. ALL non-Nordic and non-Spanish proposals for the Nordic Optical Telescope MUST be submitted through the OPTICON common proposal and evaluation system.

OPTICON proposals must be submitted well before the usual NOT deadline - see the OPTICON Call text for all details on this programme.


'Fast-track' Observing Proposals for short programmes:

Any proposal for a programme requiring up to 4 hours of observing time in service mode and with standard instrumentation can be submitted at any time through the 'Fast-Track Service Programme'.


Joint IAC-Nordic research programmes:

Following the Agreement between the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and NOTSA for the continued operation of the NOT at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory on La Palma, 5% of the observing time at NOT will be offered for joint IAC-Nordic research programmes. This observing time is aimed at reinforcing the collaboration and synergies between the IAC and the Nordic communities through joint programmes. Call for proposals will be issued separately.


Regular Observing Proposals:


Who can apply?

  • Anybody affiliated with a Nordic research institute can apply for NOT time in the regular procedure, regardless of nationality.

  • Proposals by scientists working at other European institutes should be submitted through OPTICON (see above).

  • Non-Nordic proposals that are not submitted through OPTICON are considered only in exceptional cases.

  • All proposals submitted to NOT are ranked on the basis of scientific merit by the NOT Observing Programmes Committee (OPC), but national shares are taking in to consideration when allocating observing time.


How do I apply for observing time at NOT?

Applications for observation time at NOT must be prepared and submitted electronically using the Latex proposal package for the period applied for (proposal template, style file, and README file). The updated proposal files will be available 4-6 weeks before each proposal deadline.

NB: The competition for observing time at the NOT is very keen, and our small OPC cannot contain experts in all fields of astronomy. Therefore, it is CRUCIAL that proposals outline CLEARLY the scientific background and context of the proposed project, and also explain CLEARLY what contribution the planned observations will make to advancing our understanding of the field in question!

As a more practical matter, note that proposals will only be accepted if prepared with the appropriate NOTFORM style macros and submitted to, a special mail-only account reserved for processing observing proposals. Please specify "Proposal" as the Subject when submitting a proposal, and "Question" in case of any preparatory inquiries.

Latest Call for Proposals



For the normal proposal cycle:
1 October to 31 March : 15th of May
1 April to 30 September : 15th of November
For proposals through OPTICON:
1 October to 31 March : 28 February
1 April to 30 September : 31 August
For joint IAC-Nordic programmes:
1 October to 31 March : Approximately one week after Nordic proposal deadline
1 April to 30 September : Approximately one week after Nordic proposal deadline

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