|HST Call for Proposals and HST Primer for Cycle 24|
Cycle 23 observations will end on September 30, 2016, and Cycle 24 will extend from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017. We will accept proposals for the following instruments: ACS, COS, FGS, STIS, and WFC3.
Proposers to Cycle 24 should be aware that the instrument complement offered is subject to change. Please consult the Cycle 24 Announcement webpage for up-to-date information on the status of HST instrumentation.
• JWST Preparatory proposals: STScI is encouraging the community to submit GO proposals for observations that complement and enhance the scientific impact of future JWST observations. Those proposals should be identified using the “JWST Preparatory Proposals” option in APT. Proposers should use the Special Requirements section for the PDF submission to describe the connection with specific JWST observations. The TAC will consider the potential impact of the overall program, including both the HST observations and future JWST observations. Following the recommendation of the Space Telescope Users Committee, JWST Preparatory proposals will have a default proprietary period of zero months. Proposers may request a proprietary period; that request will be reviewed by the TAC. More details are given in Section 6.4.
• Very Large Treasury proposals: STScI encourages the community to submit proposals for very large Treasury programs (see Section 3.2.6), requesting at least 350 orbits in Cycle 24. Those proposals should be submitted as Treasury proposals. They will be reviewed by the TAC, with the aim of identifying at least one program for support. The orbit allocation for very large Treasury programs will be shared between the Cycle 24 and Cycle 25 GO Large/Treasury allocations, with a possible subsidy through Director’s Discretionary Time.
• Mid-Cycle proposals: Up to 200 orbits per cycle will be available for Mid-Cycle GO programs (see Section 3.10). Mid-Cycle programs were initiated in Cycle 23 to provide the community with an opportunity to propose for in-cycle observations of recently-discovered, non-transient objects. Mid-Cycle proposals may be submitted anytime between August 15, 2016 and January 31, 2017.
• E/PO Proposals: As you may be aware, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is restructuring its education program. As a result, we regret to inform the community that we are unable to issue a call for Cycle 24 E/PO proposals. We will keep the HST Cycle E/PO community informed of future opportunities should they become available.
• Past HST Usage information is no longer either requested or required in Phase I submissions.
• Proposal format: Following the recommendation of the Space Telescope Users Committee, printed copies of proposals will list investigators alphabetically without identifying the Principal Investigator. The PI will be appropriately identified on accepted proposals.
• Spectroscopic Legacy Archive: Cycle 24 proposers will be able to mine the new HST Spectroscopic Legacy Archive for high-level data products intended to accelerate the scientific use of existing spectroscopic data. This archive will contain “science grade” co-added spectra of all usable public data, combining exposures for each target from across visits, programs, and cycles. This data will be organized into “smart archives” by target type (such as “hot stars” and “white dwarfs”) and by scientific purpose (“IGM absorption sources”) so that samples can be readily constructed and downloaded without manual interaction with MAST. The first generation of these products for the FUV modes of COS will be available online via MAST in early 2016. We encourage the development and submission of Archival Programs based on these new products.
• Archive changes credentials to Single Sign-On: As of April 2015, the Archive’s account management system has been replaced by the STScI Single Sign-On (SSO) System. Most users will need to register for a new account. As an Archive user, the only difference you should see (apart from a different registration process) is that instead of a username, you will login with your email address. You can check whether or not you currently have an SSO account here (https://archive.stsci.edu/registration/index.html). It is not necessary to register for an account to search the Archive catalogs or retrieve public data. However, to retrieve proprietary data, such as recently archived HST data, an SSO account is required. When retrieving proprietary HST data, the Retrieval Options page will ask you to enter your SSO email and password. This will be used to verify that you are authorized to retrieve the data. (You can also use your SSO account to retrieve public HST data, instead of doing so anonymously, if you wish.)
• Solar System and Exoplanet Proposals: Starting Cycle 24, the “Planets” mirror panels will review proposals covering exoplanet and debris disk science. Proposals for archival research/observations of Solar System targets will be reviewed by a separate panel.
• Medium Proposals (those requesting between 35 and 74 orbits) are continued as a separate proposal category (see Section 3.2.2). This cycle, Medium Proposals are reviewed by the panels and ranked together with the Small Proposals. Each panel is assigned a quota. The total orbit pool is nominally 650 orbits in size, although the TAC has the ability to decrease or increase this number in order to balance the pressure between Regular, Medium, and Large Proposals.
• New Supported Sample Sequence for WFC3/IR: The sample sequence SPARS5, intermediate between RAPID and SPARS10, is intended to allow the efficiency and uninterrupted time series of SPARS10 and yet be short enough in cadence to better isolate an exoplanet-host star from a nearby stellar companion in spatially-scanned observations using IR grism. See the article in WFC3 STAN Issue 20.
• New Supported Coronagraphic Position for the STIS CCD: For Cycle 24 STIS/CCD imaging observations with the BAR5 coronagraphic position will be supported. This is intended to provide high contrast at inner working angles as small as 0.25 arcseconds. See the STIS coronagraphy webpage and the articles in the November 2015 and March 2014 STIS STAN for additional details, and what for additional updates on the performance of this new position in future STIS STAN articles.
• The Ultraviolet (UV) Initiative will continue in Cycle 24. This initiative is designed to take full advantage of the unique UV capabilities of Hubble while they still exist. Small, Medium, Large, and Treasury GO Proposals are all eligible, but SNAP Proposals are not. The available UV instrument modes include ACS/SBC imaging, COS spectroscopy, STIS/MAMA imaging and spectroscopy, STIS/CCD spectroscopy (UV gratings only) and WFC3/UVIS imaging (UV filters only; this does not include F336W, the U-band filter). The UV Initiative also extends to Archival (AR) Proposals, in the Regular AR (Section 3.4.1), Legacy AR (Section 3.4.2), and Theory (Section 3.4.4) categories. STScI will ask the review panels and the TAC to give particular consideration to UV-specific AR Proposals in the review process. More details are given in Section 6.3.
• COS Lifetime Position. In February 2015 COS FUV spectra were moved from the second COS Lifetime Position (LP2) to the third (LP3) in order to alleviate the continuing effects of gain sag. The typical spectral resolution (λ/Δλ) has declined by about 5% for observations with the primary science aperture (PSA). Changes in the COS extraction and calibration pipeline have improved the calibration of point-source observations. COS/FUV observations at LP3 targeting extended objects or using the Bright Object Aperture (BOA) are more complex. In these cases the standard pipeline calibration will not always produce the flux accuracy achieved for point sources observed with the PSA, and it will be the responsibility of the user to evaluate the adequacy of the spectral extraction and, if necessary, undertake any customized extractions. See Chapter 3 of the COS Data Handbook for more information.
• The Hubble Source Catalog (HSC) combines tens of thousands of single visit-based WFC3, ACS, and WFPC2 source lists from the Hubble Legacy Archive (HLA) into a single master catalog with roughly 100 million individual sources, hence providing entry into the field of database astronomy. Searches that would require months or years to perform in the past can, in many cases, be done in seconds with the HSC. This resource may be used to support a wide range of new archival proposals, a few potential examples are listed in Section 7.4 of the HST Primer (e.g., variability over more than a 20 year lifetime in many cases, astrometry with better than 10 milli-arcsecond accuracy, cross-matching with a wide variety of catalogs).
• The budget categories for Regular Archival proposals (including Theory and Calibration) are no longer required, removing the Small and Medium categories used for planning purposes in previous cycles. See Section 3.4 for further details. Proposers should still provide a Management plan as described in Section 9.7.
• Joint HST-NRAO Proposals will continue in Cycle 24, allowing proposers to request time on both HST and NRAO facilities in a single proposal. For a joint HST-NRAO proposal to be successful, the project must be fundamentally of a multi-wavelength nature and must require all proposed observations to meet the science goals. Proposers should take special care to justify both the scientific and technical reasons for all observations included in their joint proposal. Proposers must always check whether appropriate archival data exist, and provide clear scientific and technical justification for any new observations of previously observed targets. Further details are given in Section 3.9.
• In addition to the joint HST-NRAO Proposals, it is possible to request time on Chandra (Section 3.5), Spitzer (Section 3.6), XMM-Newton (Section 3.7), and NOAO telescopes (Section 3.8) as part of a proposal for HST observations.
• The MAST Data Discovery Portal (http://mast.stsci.edu/explore) is a one-stop Web interface to access data from all of MAST’s supported missions, including HST, Kepler, GALEX, FUSE, IUE, EUVE, and Swift-UVOT. In addition to data at MAST, users can search for data available through the Virtual Observatory (VO), either by providing a resolvable target name or coordinate, or by using the “Search the VO” button for a given MAST data product. The VO gives Portal users access to data spanning the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to high energy, including images, spectra, catalogs, and NASA ADS records.
• We remind users that an extensive catalog of High-Level Science Products (HLSPs) is hosted on the MAST archive HLSP webpage, including imaging and spectroscopic atlases of many classes of astronomical object. HLSPs are community-contributed, fully-processed images and spectra that are ready for scientific analysis. The HLSP catalog is a useful resource for preparing new proposals. In addition, agreeing to provide new HLSPs back to MAST can increase a proposal’s scientific value and hence its chance of success (this is a requirement for Treasury GO and Legacy AR Proposals).