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To apply for CfA telescope time, the CfA must be your primary affiliation and you must be resident at a CfA facility. (Working from home counts as residence.)  In-coming postdocs may apply if they will be in residence during the semester. CfA staff on leave or sabbatical may also apply for time.

PROPOSALS ARE DUE at NOON Eastern Time (EST or EDT) on the 2nd Tuesday of April and October, as follows:

Due Date for Telescope Semester
Oct 11, 2022 Magellan A (Jan 16 - Jul 15)
Oct 11, 2022 MMT + FLWO A (Feb 1 - mid July1)
April 11, 2023 Magellan B (July 16 - Jan 15)
April 11, 2023 MMT + FLWO B (mid Aug1 - Jan 31)




1The exact dates of MMT+FLWO summer shutdown vary due to activities like re-aluminization.


  • Proposals must contain:
    1. Cover page (generated by proposal system).
    2. Scientific Justification & Experimental Design (2 page limit, 12pt font required).
    3. Figures and Tables (1 page limit)
    4. Addendum (no page limit, but typically 2-3 pages as described in the Instructions for CfA OIR Telescope Proposals)
  • LATEX TEMPLATE for everything (except the Cover page, which is auto-generated). PDF version here.
  • If applying for more than one instrument, please submit a SEPARATE proposal for each instrument on each telescope (even if the same telescope). A proposal should contain a request for ONE instrument only. This facilitates bookkeeping and the review process.
  • Any proposal requiring more than one semester of time should be marked as Long: long-term proposals must state the number of nights needed for completion and, if continuing, state progress made.
  • Large proposals requesting more than 6 nights in a single semester are allowed an extra page for the scientific justification. These will be reviewed more critically.

DISCRETIONARY TIME: To address scheduling flexibility concerns with the new MMT semesters, the TAC will provisionally set aside a few MMT nights for Discretionary Time. Discretionary Time is meant for one-time, unexpected needs. I.e., for an in-coming postdoc who was unable to apply during the normal cycle, or for a thesis result that could be published with a final observation. Long term/target-of-opportunity programs are expected to apply normally. The TAC will review the process and allocate any unused discretionary nights at each TAC meeting. Send inquiries to the TAC Chair wbrown @

REVIEW PROCESS: Proposals are sorted by telescope and by instrument, and then distributed to the Time Allocation Committee (TAC). Proposals are ranked according to:

  • Overall scientific merit
  • Publication record using CfA facilities
  • Availability of time requested

Grades from each TAC member are normalized and averaged to produced rank-ordered lists for each telescope. The TAC members meet to discuss each proposal and assign time, given the time available on a telescope. Finally, the time is scheduled by the observatory staff in consultation with the relevant TACs (e.g. Magellan involves 6 partners).

SCHEDULE NOTIFICATION: PIs are notified by the appropriate observatory (MMT, Magellan, or FLWO) when schedules are complete, typically 1 month before the semester begins. The TAC Chair will then send notes to PIs who were not scheduled time, or to PIs with substantive TAC feedback/concerns.