Target-of-Opportunity and Monitoring programs at
A class of research projects concerns objects which appear
unpredictably and fade rapidly - "Targets of Opportunity" (ToO). A few
of these have been judged by the NOT Observing Programs Committee
(OPC) to be of sufficiently high scientific merit that they have been
awarded "ToO status" at the NOT. This privilege implies that the
Principal Investigator (PI) of such a program is authorised, within
specified conditions, to contact the observer at the NOT and request
that an approved set of observations of a target from the approved
list be executed within a delay specified for each program.
There are also projects which study objects that require regular, but
infrequent `monitoring' observations. Often these require relatively
little observing time, but are spread in time such that it is
impractical to execute the observations in visitor mode. Observations
for these kinds of programs are scheduled on specific dates, and
visiting astronomers might be asked to participate in the execution of
these programs, where you will be informed in advance of this is the
When approving these type of programs, the NOT Council fully realised
that such interruptions are made at the expense of other valuable,
approved scientific projects. The criteria for approval of especially
ToO programs are therefore particularly strict. The hope is that, in
this way, we may enable Nordic teams to carry out some truly unique
science justifying the inconvenience to others. Progress will be
closely monitored to ensure that this remains the case.
Note that any observing program affected by ToO or
Monitoring observations are offered full compensation of the observing
time lost in service mode. This also applies in case an
observer in Spanish time accepts to do ToO observations for a program
approved for Nordic time (see "Current ToO and Monitoring programs"
linked below). Specific observations can be requested through
Service Program, which we then will execute in service mode during
Nordic service nights.
A full list of all ToO and Monitoring programs in order of priority
can be found here:
Current ToO and Monitoring programs
If you execute any of the Target-of-Opportunity or Monitoring
programs, you are required to fill out a ToO/Mon Report form linked
from the list of programs. This must be done before filling out the
Rules for Target-of-Opportunity programs at the NOT
The relationships between the NOT Observer, the PI, and the NOT staff
are defined by the following rules:
- ToO status is awarded only upon explicit application and review by
the OPC and is given to a specific program for a specific period at a
time. Only the PI of an approved ToO program or her/his deputy is
authorised to contact the NOT observer directly.
- Each ToO program is awarded a fixed number of alerts per period,
with agreed amounts of time to be devoted to the ToO at each alert, as
well as a total time limit per semester.
- In case of alerts by more than one program in a given night, their
order of priority follows that in which the ToO programs appear in the
list of Current ToO and
Monitoring programs. The total amount of time taken up by ToO
programs in a given night is limited to three (3) hours, unless the
observer accepts an extension. During Technical or Nordic service
nights up to half the night can be dedicated to ToO observations.
- The NOT Director will inform all observers at the NOT of the
existence of approved ToO programs. By accepting the allocated
observing period at the NOT, observers accept to perform these
programs according to the present rules.
- ToO programs approved by NOT are authorised to interrupt other
observations during any observing run, except for Spanish time, i.e.,
proposal numbers in the range 200-299. In particular, there is no
direct right to request ToO observations in Spanish time, but of
course the PI is free to contact the observer, and ask (where the
rules as for payback apply as in Nordic time; see above).
- If any questions of doubt arise concerning the interpretation of
these rules in specific situations, the NOT Director or his/her
delegate is authorised to decide the issue.
If you have any further questions concerning the programs, please
contact NOT staff or the PI's.