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Applying for Telescope Time

If you are preparing an application to observe on the ING telescopes, please consult the instrumentation available, and the web pages and contacts linked therein. The astronomy web pages provide additional relevant information, e.g. about: planning observations; observer support at the telescope; calculating exposure times and total observing time; data ownership; and subscription to [INGNEWS] mailing list.

Time on the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) and the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) is awarded primarily by the Dutch, Spanish and UK time-allocation committees (TACs), who meet once per semester. The A-semesters run from 1st February to 31st July, and the B-semesters from 1st August to 31st January. Telescope proposals should be submitted directly to the TACs, following the instructions linked under 'Proposal submission information' in the table below, and by the deadlines given on the same pages.

For both the WHT and INT applicants are encouraged to submit proposals for large time allocations. This applies particularly to the INT, where ING can only support a small number of instrument changes.

PIs planning to submit a proposal for observations with a visitor instrument which is new to ING should follow the procedure for new visitor instruments. This includes informing the Director of ING of the PI's intention, at least three months before the proposal deadlines.

ProgrammePrincipal Investigators fromTelescopes available Proposal submission informationModeDeadlinesLatest call
Dutch time Netherlands1 WHT, INT NL Programme Committee (NL PC)Visitor8 Every semester3 2017B
Spanish time Spain1 WHT, INT Comité para la Asignación de Tiempo (ES CAT) Visitor8Every semester3 2017B
UK time UK1 WHT, INT Panel for the Allocation of Telescope Time (UK PATT)

UK PATT form

15 March,
15 September
ING Override Programme5 Netherlands, Spain, UK1 WHT, INT Override programmes (observational information) ServiceEvery semester3 2017B
International Time Programme (ITP)6InternationalMultiple
(incl. WHT, INT)
International Scientific
Committee (CCI)
Visitor8Annual 2017B-2018A
OPTICON Trans-national Access Programme7 EU Members and Associated States WHT, INT OPTICON Time
Allocation Committee
Visitor8Every semester3 2017B
ING Service Programme2 Netherlands,
Spain, UK1
WHT ING Service ServiceMonthly2
Spanish Service Time4 Spain1 INT CAT Service ServiceNo deadline4
(IAC) Director's Discretionary4
Spain1 WHT, INT CAT DDT-IAC Visitor84 weeks before

[1] Principal Investigators (PIs) employed or studying in a Dutch, Spanish or UK institution at the time of submission should submit their proposal(s) to the Dutch, Spanish or UK TAC respectively. Please refer to the information provided by every TAC regarding acceptance of proposals submitted by PIs employed or studying in a country other than TAC's.

Observing programmes of less than one night are not accepted on either the WHT or the INT unless agreed in advance by the Director of ING or the Head of Astronomy. For such programmes, please consider applying for service observations, see the relevant entries in the table above.

[2] The normal submission deadline for the ING Service Programme is the end of each month, and there are occasional announcements of opportunity, e.g. for time on visiting instruments. Nights on which service time is available are flagged on the ING schedules by 'S' or 'S/D' in the 'Programme' column. Observations are made by ING staff.

[3] Typically ~ 4 - 5 months before the start of the semester.

[4] Specific nights are allocated each semester, flagged in the ING schedules as 'CAT S' (service) or 'CAT DDT' (DDT-IAC). CAT S observations are done by IAC support astronomers.

[5] Applications for override observations should be submitted to the TACs in the same way as proposals for scheduled time. This definition of a target of opportunity can be useful when planning your submission. Note that override programmes for less-used instruments (e.g. WHT INGRID, OASIS or prime-focus imaging) are less likely to be schedulable than for the more popular instruments. Observations are made by the overridden observer.

[6] Up to 5% of ING telescope time is available for large-scale international projects through the International Time Programme (ITP). This time is allocated on an annual basis by the International Scientific Committee (CCI). The proposal deadlines are usually in February, and the time is usually allocated over the following B and A semesters.

[7] The OPTICON scheme fosters pan-European access to the ING telescopes, under the auspices of the EC-funded Research Infrastructure Programme. OPTICON time is available to eligible astronomers based in EU member states and associated states, and EC funding may be available to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. Applications from new users and young researchers, and astronomers based in countries without similar research facilities, are strongly encouraged. International proposals that otherwise meet OPTICON's criteria of eligibility, but which are submitted to and awarded telescope time by the national TACs, do not qualify for OPTICON financial support.

[8] On the INT it is possible that a regular proposal is observed in service mode. See the description of the INT service-mode observations of regular proposals.

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Last modified: 16 February 2017