Text Size:
Smaller Text Normal Text Larger Text

Facebook page

Twitter profile

YouTube channel

Applying for time at NOT

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. 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, it was decided that ALL non-Nordic proposals MUST be submitted through an EU Trans-National Access (TNA) Programme (see below). Proposals submitted outside the TNA Programme procedures will be considered only in exceptional cases.

As stipulated by the NOT Charter, a contribution to the operations of the telescope will be required from the users. Furthermore, in accordance with the new rules, the share of observing time for each Nordic Country is proportional to the contributions from each Partner. 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 EU TNA Programmes, the user contribution is covered by those programmes.

EU Trans-National Access Programmes

EU flag  Trans-National Access (TNA) Programme provides access for (non-Nordic) European users to NOT with support from the European Union. ALL non-Nordic and non-Spanish proposals for the Nordic Optical Telescope MUST be submitted through a TNA Programme.

  The ORP Trans-National Access Programme:

ORP Logo  The ORP (OPTICON-RadioNet Pilot) Trans-National Access Programme provides access to NOT and several other European telescopes. Proposals for the Nordic Optical Telescope must be submitted through the OPTICON common proposal and evaluation system.

There is call for ORP TNA proposals for each semester, with a deadline well before the usual NOT deadline - see the ORP TNA Call text for all details on this programme.

  The ChETEC-INFRA Trans-National Access Programme:

ChETEC-INFRA Logo  The ChETEC-INFRA (Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos – Infrastructures for Nuclear Astrophysics) Trans-National Access Programme provides access to telescopes for astronomical observations, nuclear laboratories to measure nuclear properties and rates, and supercomputers to compute complex stellar models aimed at Nuclear astrophysics research.

There is call for ChETEC-INFRA TNA proposals each 3 months, but in principle only the calls in May and November are open for proposals for the observing time at the NOT in the semesters October to March, and April to September, respectively. (Any proposal to the NOT submitted at the other deadlines will only be considered for allocation in the subsequent proposal round). See here for details on the TNA 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'.


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