Application for Observing Time
at the Calar Alto Telescopes
- General Information -
Applications for observing time at the 2.2- and 3.5-m
telescopes for Spring semester 2020
(January 1 through June 30)
Spanish Open Time at the CAHA 2.2- and 3.5-m
The Principal Investigator (PI) of the proposal must be
affiliated with a Spanish Institution at the time of
submission (see exceptions below).
Co-investigators (CoIs) from all countries are welcome to participate along with the Spanish PI.
- Earliest date for submission is September 6, 2019.
DEADLINE FOR SPRING 2020 PROPOSALS
- October 9, 2019 23:59:59 CEST
PIs coming from other European countries are kindly asked
via NorthStar/Opticon. In 2020A semester (deadline to apply is over), up to 10 nights were available on the 3.5-m telescope and 10 nights also on the 2.2 m.
Travel funds are available for accepted OPTICON
Please also note the possible different deadlines!
Proposals of PIs from non-European countries may be granted with
observing time only if they are extremely well rated by the TAC. International teams can also buy observing time (see below).
News and remarks
- 3.5-m and 2.2-m telescopes
As an ICTS (Spanish Singular Scientific Facility), Calar Alto offers
a minimum of 20% of the available observing time. Due to the new
status of the observatory, the number of available observing
nights for the Spanish community is larger since 2019. For
this reason, Calar Alto encourages Spanish PIs to send their
proposals and take advantage of the new situation.
Calar Alto also offers the option to buy observing time at the
3.5-m and 2.2-m telescopes.
A separate operation agreement between CAHA A.I.E. and the
respective user institution shall be signed.
But a proposal must be submitted, and it will be evaluated by the TAC. Only the highly ranked pay-per-night proposals will be accepted.
For further information, please contact
CAHA director (director at caha.es).
- 1.23-m telescope
There is no definite deadline for this telescope.
For any use of the 1.23-m telescope, a separate operation
agreement between CAHA A.I.E. and the respective user
institution shall be previously signed. Please contact
CAHA director (director at caha.es).
CARMENES is available for Open Time programs in 2020 Spring semester. We remind
the main science case of the CARMENES Guaranteed Time
the detection by the radial velocity method, follow-up and characterization of planets around
The agreement between CAHA and
the CARMENES consortium protects this science case.
of CARMENES open time proposals which might
overlap with this science case are encouraged to contact the
CARMENES consortium for collaboration. In all other cases,
arguments explaining why the science case does not overlap should
be provided in the "Astrophysical Context" subsection (8a) of the
After the upgrade (high-reflectivity grating plus
temperature-controlled room) and commissioning of the spectrograph,
an improved CAFE is
available for the Spring 2020 semester, reaching a radial velocity
accuracy below 10 m/s.
A new pipeline developed by
Jorge Lillo-Box is available to
CAFE data (including the automatic extraction of radial velocities for FGKM
stars). The pipeline works with data from the current or previous
semesters. A paper about the pipeline will be published soon.
Please contact Jorge (jlillo at cab.inta-csic.es) for
The wide-field infrared camera is being upgrated.
The former mosaic of four HAWAII-2RG with poor cosmetic quality
is being replaced by a new, single
HAWAII-4RG detector. The integration of the large, monolithic
detector is about to start, and commissioning is expected to
take place in March-April 2020.
PANIC is thus offered on a shared-risk basis at the end of the Spring
semester (May-June), for a maximum of 5 nights on the 2.2 m. The idea is that
propose early-science projects to demonstrate the potential of the new
(field of view ca. 27'x27')
monolithic detector by performing novel studies in the near-infrared.
The two-channel (0.38-1.7 microns) lucky-imaging camera
is fully operational at Calar Alto
and can be mounted on the 1.23- and 2.2-m telescopes.
Although the use of the camera corresponds to its owner (the
Group of Planetary Sciences
GPC of UPV/EHU),
in its visiting instrument mode at Calar Alto Observatoriy, the
use of PlanetCam
can be requested for any other program through a collaboration
with the GPC.
Potential applicants please contact Prof. Agustín
Sánchez-Lavega (agustin.sanchez at ehu.es)
- TWIN and MOSCA
These two instruments are not offered this Spring 2020 semester.
- Visitor, Service A and Service B programs:
CAHA will approve programs in visitor and service mode.
Visitor mode proposals are encouraged and will have higher
priority to be scheduled. CAHA favors in particular the
education of young researchers who have no or
little previous hands-on experience on a professional
telescope. Visitor mode runs including PhD (or young postdocs)
will be considered very positively by the TAC.
We kindly remind the PIs asking
for visitor mode proposal that they must send observers for the
allocated nights, although
they might differ from the ones indicated in the proposals.
In case visitors are planning to go up to the observatory only for part of the
allocated nights, "Partly service mode" may be asked.
Service programs will be executed as A (priority) and B (backup) as follows:
- Service A: Only for highly ranked proposals. The
observations will be done in queue mode (exceptions see
below) and buffer time is allocated to ensure that the
obtained data set is complete.
- Service B: These programs are scheduled as backup, when
all Service A programs (including those for guaranteed
time) have got their data or they cannot be executed. This
implies that time for these programs is allocated
generally towards the end of the semester and only
proposals whose objects have the appropriate RA can
be considered, or when medium weather conditions are
- Visitor mode: The observations will be performed by the
visiting astronomer in a fixed period. Limited buffer time will
be reserved. If the requested observing conditions are
demanding (good seeing, photometric, etc.), a back-up
program should be included. It should be also discussed
and approved by the TAC.
We also ask the PI (or any CoI) of any servide mode proposal to send detailed
instructions at least one week in advance
before the first planned observation. Last day changes in the
setup may not be accepted/feasible, except if justified by the
outcome of the previous observing night.
This will allow us to secure the scheduling and setup of the instruments on
the 2.2- and 3.5-m telescopes well in advance, while leaving time
to iterate if needed with the PI. Changes to this
rule will be only accepted under exceptional circumstances
(e.g. sudden illness).
- Rules for Open Time service observations
Programs in service mode are generally performed during service
blocks. Although tentative observing slots are assigned for each
program, the observations will be performed in a kind of queue
mode. This gives the observatory more flexibility to react on
changing observing conditions, so that the programs will benefit
from higher efficiency.
Please note: at the 2.2-m telescope, due to the cadence requirements of
the Black Hole project in progress, the observations of approved
Open Time programs will be carried out in blocks of no more than
three nights in a row. Visitor mode time slots may
exceptionnaly be extended to a maximum of 4 nights.
In contrast to other instruments, whose configuration can be
changed quickly between one program and another, PMAS
needs more time for setup changes. This implies that the
configuration cannot be changed during the night and thus a queue
scheduling is difficult, if not impossible. For this reason (and
only for this instrument), the rules for observations
in service mode are changed in the sense that:
- "Service mode" means "delegated service", i.e CAHA staff
will carry out the observations, but on specific dates,
usually without compensation for weather losses.
- The TAC will favor programs requesting whole nights.
Programs requesting few hours for several nights
will usually not be approved. They should propose a secondary
program (in the back-up section) for the rest of the night,
which has to be approved by the TAC, and being above the
- If the requested observing conditions are demanding (very
good seeing, photometric night, etc), a back-up program
should be included, just as in the case of the "Visitor
fractions of nights can be accepted in visitor mode, although they
should be exceptional and very well justified, and should receive
a high grade by the TAC.
- Available instruments for Spring 2020
Calar Alto offers the option of installing your own instrument
at the observatory telescopes. Please contact CAHA director
(director at caha.es) well in advance, to consider the feasibility.
- Proprietary period for observing data
All observing data from Open Time Programs will be made public
by the Virtual Observatory (VO) in Madrid, after a proprietary
period of one year after the end of the observations.
- Report the published articles
Calar Alto Observatory kindly asks you to inform us (info at caha.es)
of any publication that makes use of data collected at our
The most appealing publications may be worth a press
release, so please contact us in advance about any breakthrough
result based on CAHA data to study its possible public diffusion.
Publications must contain a footnote as follows:
"Based on observations collected at the Centro Astronómico
Hispánico en Andalucía
(CAHA) at Calar Alto, operated jointly by the Andalusian
Universities and the Instituto de Astrofísica de
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