The Submillimeter Array (SMA)

Announcing EAO submissions to the SMA/ASIAA Call for Proposals: Now CLOSED

We wish to draw your attention to the currrently open call for  proposals for observations with the Submillimeter Array (SMA), the reconfigurable interferometric array of eight 6-m antennas on Maunakea jointly built and operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The array operates in the 230 GHz, 345 GHz and 400 GHz bands.

The SMA is currently accepting proposals for the 2019A observing semester (16 May to 15 November 2019) from principal investigators from the worldwide astronomical community.

As announced, the proposal deadline is:

  • Thursday, 7 March 2019, 11:00 HST (Hawaii)
  • Thursday, 7 March 2019, 16:00 EST (Cambridge, MA)
  • Thursday, 7 March 2019, 21:00 GMT
  • Friday, 8 March 2019, 05:00 CST (Taipei)

The SMA has recently completed significant upgrades in observational capability, with more under way. Currently, the SMA observes simultaneously with two orthogonally polarized receivers, one in the 230 GHz or 345 GHz band and the other in the 240 GHz or 400 GHz band, with full polarimetric observations available using the 230+240 or 345+400 band combinations. The SWARM correlator processes 8 GHz bandwidth for each receiver in each sideband, for a total of 32 GHz, at a uniform 140 kHz resolution. This 32 GHz frequency coverage can be continuous where the tuning ranges overlap for the two orthogonally polarized receivers. In short, the SMA now provides flexible, wide band frequency coverage that delivers high continuum sensitivity and excellent spectral line capabilities. A full track offers continuum sensitivity of 200 or 500 micro-Jy (1 sigma) at 230 or 345 GHz in good weather conditions (precipitable water vapor 2.5mm and 1.0mm, respectively). The corresponding line sensitivities at 1 km/s resolution are 30 and 70 mJy. The small antennas allow access to low spatial frequencies in the sub-compact configuration, and at the other extreme, the finest angular resolution with the very extended configuration at 345 GHz is ~ 0.25″. The compact and extended configurations complete the range. Thus, in some ways, the characteristics and performance of the SMA are both similar and complementary to those of the stand-alone Atacama Compact Array (ACA) component of ALMA.

For more information about SMA capabilities, visit the SMA Observer Center website and explore the set of SMA proposing tools. Current and archived SMA Newsletters available online provide a sampling of the wide variety of science possible with the SMA.

The Large Scale Projects program follows a phased development, submission and review path, with the final selection of successful proposals synchronized with the TAC process for standard proposals. Accordingly, a Notice of Intent is required ahead of full submission. The deadlines are:

Large Scale Projects proposals

Notice of Intent: 10 January 2019
Full submission: 13 February (US) and 14 February (Taiwan) 2019

Standard Observing Proposals

Submissions Close : 7 March 2019


More details can be found at:

Questions or comments regarding the Call for Large Scale Proposals can be addressed to For more information, including instructions and  tools for proposal preparation and submission, please visit the SMA Observer Center website.

Astronomers wishing to submit a proposal for this Call are being strongly recommended to provide an ASIAA contact as a CO-I to provide access and support for such programs. If you do not already have an ASIAA contact please email either Naomi Hirano or EAO at the emails below with your area of interest from the following list:

  • Distant galaxies
  • Nearby galaxies
  • High mass star formation
  • Low mass star formation
  • Evolved stars
  • Polarization measurements
  • Time domain

Proposals should be submitted to the SMA Observer Center. You will need to create an account on this page. The proposal will then be submitted from the “My projects” page. Standard science projects are limited to 10 “tracks” in a semester per proposal. A single track is typically one night (from ~6 p.m. to ~9 a.m.) or half night (so called first-shift or second-shift) depending on the required sensitivity, uv-coverage, and source availability.

For questions (including instrumentation) please email: hirano “at”

For other questions or concerns please email: EAO_SMA_sub “at”

Please liaise with the ASIAA/SMA contact or EAO staff. If you do intend to write an SMA proposal please drop us an email.  This is to allow us to estimate how many proposals to expect, and also to help arrange collaborators, and to plan for the resources which will be necessary to support your proposals.

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