Call for Proposals – 15B

Semester 15B

Submission Deadline:

For telescope time in

Semester 15B (1st August 2015  – 31st January 2016)

the closing date for receipt of proposals is

Friday 15 May 2015

15:00 Hawaiian Standard Time

  • Applicants from the University of Hawaii may have a different deadline.

NEWS for 15B

  • This is the second semester for JCMT operating under the management of the East Asian Observatories, and again EAO invites observing proposals from users in its partner regions (China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan), as well as from members of the contributing consortia in the UK and Canada. Proposals are not yet being invited from the wider ‘International’ community. Click here to see if you are eligible to submit as PI.
  • There is a limit of a maximum of 200 hours that may be requested per proposal and each proposal should aim to be completed during the semester.
  • Survey proposals (large programs spanning more than 200 hours and requiring more than one semester to complete) are not solicited in this Call. A separate Call for JCMT Surveys will be announced in mid-May and assessed separately. These programs will be considered for observing starting at a later date, to be announced in the survey call.
  • The Time Allocation Committee for JCMT will assess each PI proposal for scientific merit and will rank and approve observing time accordingly.
  • We encourage multi-national collaboration, and projects which request the heterodyne instruments and/or weather bands 4 and 5. A description of how time will be distributed for collaborative projects is here.
  • Proposal submission is via Northstar and applicants are requested to use the sections of the Northstar form regarding Flexible Observing to express their willingness and ability to travel and observe. If unable to travel themselves, applicants will be able to consult with the observatory to make alternative arrangements. As the JCMT operates flexible observing, it is important to note that data can be obtained for a project even without the P.I./observer’s attendance at the telescope.
  • POL-2 and FTS-2 are not being offered in this Call.

Important Notes

  • There is only one ‘queue’ in semester 15B – labelled ‘International‘ on the Northstar application form. The science and technical case should be limited to 2 pages; another page is available for figures & tables.
  • Applicants are urged to itemize explicitly, in the Technical section of the proposal, their inputs to their integration time calculations. Output from the SCUBA-2 ITC can/should be copied&paste-d. This will allow the assigned Technical Assessor to confirm the proposal’s feasibility.
  • We encourage use of the CADC database to check for previous observations that might satisfy your program needs (see p8 of the talk given at the January workshops and our JSA pages).
  • JCMT normally operates a 12-hour night, running from approximately 7:30pm to 7:30am HST.  Table A and Table B show source transit times during (roughly) the first and seconds halves of the year.
  • Your proposal must specify the weather conditions (read opacity) that it requires or can tolerate.
    The amount of time available per weather/opacity band varies through the year.
  • A summary of the telescope and its operations was given at the January Workshops

Available Instrumentation and Observing Modes

The current status and availability of the JCMT instrument suite is here.

Continuum Receivers

  • SCUBA-2 (simultaneous 450µm & 850µm imaging)

Heterodyne Receivers General overview

  • RxA3 (211-272 GHz) – has a single receptor.
  • HARP (325-375 GHz) – is a 16-element B-band array.

Heterodyne Backend

Several modes of heterodyne observing and several switching schemes are supported.

See also the Instrumentation summary from the January Workshops

Calculating Integration Times

Integration time calculators or formulae are available, for

They should be used to calculate the integration time needed to reach a given RMS per channel or beam or output-map pixel as a function of receiver, frequency, observing mode, elevation and sky opacity.

The JCMT Observing Tool (JCMTOT) gives equivalent results for all instruments.

  • Overheads for pointing, focussing, and calibrations should not be added to the time request. These activities will be accounted for separately. Calibration observations (eg. focus, pointing, flux calibrators) and other unavoidable overheads (eg receiver tuning) are no longer charged to science projects and instead are charged to an observatory accounting code. There is therefore no need for applicants to provide calibration overhead estimates in their proposals.The observatory will perform regular and appropriate calibration observations to ensure that all science data obtained are sensibly calibrated.
    • Spectroscopically, this involves observations of one of our Spectral Line Standards at one of about ten different standard line frequencies . If your programme frequency is one of these, then you’re decidely in luck. In any case, the calibration allows you to assess the performance of the instrument. We will perform such an observation at least once per programme unless a previous calibration is still appropriate, and more often if circumstances change or if more than a couple of hours pass.
    • For continuum work, continuum calibrators will be observed at both operational wavelengths of SCUBA-2 (450µm, 850µm) at appropriate times and airmass to meet the general needs of the science programmes.

    If a proposal demands more unusual or more frequent calibrations then this needs to be clearly stated in the proposal and the time for these calibrations requested explicitly. If you have queries about what our default calibrations might be or what extra overheads are generated by your calibration requirements please get in touch with us.


Proposal Submission

Northstar is now available for submissions. All users are advised to register, check and/or update their accounts. As mentioned in our Help page, you may, at first, have to accept the server certificate to gain access to Northstar. Except for the University of Hawaii, all proposals should be submitted


If you already have a Northstar account you can login now! – new users should first register. Applicants should avoid using font sizes that are excessively small.


It is important that all applicants (PI & CoIs) and their national affiliations are listed on the proposal, so that an assessment can be made of how much observing time is being used by each partner organization. We suggest that you edit your Northstar profile to include, eg

      REMARK : Affiliation = China (or Japan or Taiwan or South Korea or UK or Canada)

Flexible Scheduling

The overall philosophy of observing at JCMT is to match observing programmes to the weather. A summary was given at the January Workshops and new guidelines will appear here soon.

The JCMT Users e-mail exploder:

From time to time, subscribers to the ‘jcmt_users’ email list will receive notices on the status of the JCMT, call for proposals, etc. To subscribe, please send email to (no particular Subject or content is required).

And Finally:

If you’ve read all this and still have questions about the scheduling, the submission deadlines, the procedures, etc – please contact the helpdesk – or me.

Iain Coulson
JCMT Scheduler

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