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 2019B observing semester (2019 Nov 162020 May 15) from principal investigators from the worldwide astronomical community.

As announced, the proposal deadline is:

  • Thursday, 5 September 2019, 10:00 HST (Hawaii)
  • Thursday, 5 September 2019, 16:00 EDT (Cambridge, MA)
  • Thursday, 5 September 2019, 20:00 GMT
  • Friday, 6 September 2019, 04:00 CST (Taipei)

The SMA is a joint project funded by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and the Academia Sinica Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) and also includes the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) at the University of Hawaii as a partner institution. The time allocation ratios for the three SMA partners, CfA:ASIAA:IfA, are 72:13:15. To promote excellence in scientific research and cooperation in the scientific community, the CfA follows an “open-skies” policy in allocating its share of the SMA time. Proposals from institutions worldwide are accepted for the CfA time and judged solely on scientific merit.

In addition to regular proposal programs, SMA offers opportunity for large-scale projects needing observing time in the range of 100 to 1000 hours. As a result, if a large-scale project proposal is successful, the time available for regular projects will be reduced. Proposers should refer to Observing Time Available for information regarding current ongoing large scale projects in the upcoming semester. The full polarization mode is offered in ‘high’-shared-risk mode only in 2019B. The SMA is currently upgrading both the total bandwidth and procedures for calibration, particularly for polarization, and thus available time and support for full polarization observations may be limited.

As of the 2011B observing semester, the CfA and the ASIAA use the same time allocation committee (TAC). PIs from ASIAA should submit through the ASIAA queue to take advantage of the guaranteed time share of the ASIAA. Astronomers proposing for IfA time should submit proposals directly to the IfA, following their independent procedures. Proposals from outside institutions should be submitted to the CfA/SAO queue. Collaboration between the partner institutions as well as between the partners and other institutions is encouraged.

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 for ASIAA Key Projects: 2019 Aug. 8 (Thu.) 24:00 CST
Full submission deadline: 2019 Sep. 6 (Fri.) 4:00 CST

Standard Observing Proposals

Submissions Close : 5 September 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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