The NOT 'Fast-Track' Service Programme
With the start of Observing Period 31 (April 1st, 2005), NOT has
started a Fast-Track Service Observing Programme offering the
opportunity to propose short programmes on a running basis and with a
short lead time from proposal to execution. A number of nights have
been reserved for this service throughout each semester, and approved
programmes will in principle only be executed on those nights.
Below, a brief description of the programme is given, and links are
provided to the fast-track proposal form and the Observing Block (OB)
generator needed to define the required observations when a proposal
has been accepted.
With the implementation of the
new general rules
for the allocation of observing time and user contributions there
are some practical changes to the Fast-Track service programme. The
Fast-Track programme remains a service that is provided free of cost
to Nordic users (i.e., researchers affiliated with a Nordic
institution), but it also incorporates a system to compensate regular
Nordic observing programmes for time lost due to interruptions by
observations for ToO or Monitoring programmes.
In the case of a Fast-Track proposal from a researcher affiliated
with a non-Nordic institute, a contribution to the operational
cost of queue-mode service observing will have to be provided (at an
hourly rate based on the cost of the corresponding services of 1025
Euro per night, assuming an average of 10 hr per full night). In these
cases, the PI of the proposal assumes responsibility to provide the
required contributions when accepting any allocation of time, but
contributions are only to be made if the observations are executed
In the case you are requesting observations to compensate for time
lost due to interruptions by observations for ToO or Monitoring
programmes, there is no need to submit a fast-track programme, but you
should use the proposal number of the programme affected when
generating OBs (see below under "Project execution"). You can define
OBs up to (approximately) the total time lost, which we then execute
in service mode during Nordic service nights.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact
Scope of proposals
Only short programmes are accepted for the fast-track programme, with
a maximum total length of four hours. Proposals may concern short,
self-contained projects, pilot projects, or observations needed to
finish projects which were, e.g., cut short by bad weather or
interrupted by ToO observations. Within the rules, the fast-track
programme is open to anybody, and the evaluation criteria are only
scientific quality and technical feasibility.
A limited number of service nights will be reserved for the fast-track
programme in each semester; thus, fast-track programmes do not have
access to time already allocated to other programmes. The
observing schedules list the assigned service nights in the
To offer a broad set of observing capabilities, but at the same time
provide a system that allows both flexibility and the highest possible
rate of completion of the proposed observing programmes, the instruments
that will be available are ALFOSC, NOTCam, FIES and StanCam.
For NOTCam, FIES and StanCam the instrument set-ups are in principle
fixed. For ALFOSC the instrument set-up can
vary widely, but we cannot provide changes of the set-up during an
observing night, and there is a limited amount of time for calibration
observations. Therefore, we limit each proposal to a selection of
2 grisms and 2 slits,
and 4 filters beyond the standard UBVRi set.
The maximum total time of the proposed observations is 4 hours, which must include the time needed for target acquisition and any night-time calibration observations (e.g., standard star
Proposals that do not comply with these constraints will be rejected.
To submit a proposal a web-based proposal
form is provided.
We have tried to keep the form as short and as simple as possible, so
we have provided a limited number of boxes that should be filled out.
For each item in the form, a short
Instruction window is provided. In the resulting form each box
has a maximum size, and applicants should check that no overflow
occurs before submitting the form.
The format is what-you-see-is-what-you-get. No HTML or LaTeX code will
be rendered, neither in PDFs nor for on-line viewing. However,
applicants can of course use these codes as long as their meaning is
clear (e.g., $\alpha$ in LaTeX). Note that when you fill in the form
you are working locally, and you can save the current contents of your
proposal in a file on your own computer. Thus, you can work on the
proposal whether or not you have a working network connection. Also,
intermediate versions of a proposal (which in principle could be
prepared by anyone else and sent to you) can be loaded into the form.
With a working network connection, you can create a PDF file of the
proposal for a final check, and submit the finished proposal.
The NOT Deputy Director is the contact person for all applications and
provides evaluation of their technical feasibility. After submission
and technical evaluation, the proposal is sent to the OPC Chair, who
will arrange for its prompt evaluation by a member of the OPC. The
resulting recommendation will assign a priority on a scale from 1
(highest) to 3 (lowest) and specify a maximum time to be allocated. No
appeal of this decision will be possible. The goal of the procedure is
to give an answer to the proposer within 2 weeks.
Accepted proposals will remain in the queue for a maximum of one and a
half year, after which a new proposal may be submitted.
Approved programmes will normally be executed in queue mode by the NOT
staff on the pre-assigned service nights. The general aim of service
observing in flexible queue mode is to use observing time in an
efficient way. For this to be successful we need to be sure that the
observations provide useful data. An important part of this is to
provide a way (for the PI) to define the requirements of the
observations, and (for us) to make sure that observations meet the
goals of the proposed programmes.
For this we make use of our Observing Blocks (OBs) system which define
the requirements for a set of observations. The general philosophy is
similar to that for OBs as defined by ESO. To prepare OBs, please use
Generator. Please read and follow the instructions carefully.
When observations have been executed, the PI with be notified
automatically, and the data obtained will be made available by ftp.
The same proprietary period applies for data obtained through
fast-track programmes as for normal observing programmes.