Instrument Availability

Before applying for CfA Telescope time, please check telescope and instrument availability. Before applying for a PI instrument, contact the Principal Investigator and obtain a letter of approval to be submitted with your proposal. First time users are expected to read the documentation and speak with the instrument PI if they have questions; the TAC chair can point people to recent users for practical tips.

COVID-19 update: FLWO and MMT are open, but in reduced operation mode with minimal instrument changes. Magellan may re-open on October 3, but PI instrument runs like M2FS may be cancelled due to international travel restrictions. The TAC encourages proposals for instruments that can be operated in service-observing, queue, or remote-observing modes, which is essentially every instrument except Magellan PI instruments (though PFS is ok).

TELESCOPES

  • 6.5m MMT telescope, located on Mt Hopkins in Arizona. Approximately 19 dark + 10 grey + 19 bright nights are available per 4 month trimester, except during summer shutdown (B trimester) when availability is 33% smaller.
  • 6.5m Magellan telescopes, located on Las Campanas in Chile. Approximately 22 dark + 11 grey + 22 bright nights, evenly split between the two telescopes, are available per 6 month semester. Instruments are linked to a specific telescope.
  • Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO), located on Mt Hopkins in Arizona. The 1.2m telescope is dedicated to imaging; the 1.5m telescope is dedicated to spectroscopy. Approximately 48 dark + 24 grey + 48 bright nights are available on each telescope per 4 month trimester, except during summer shutdown (B trimester) when availability is 25% smaller.

SCHEDULING

  • MMT and FLWO instruments are mostly run in queue mode, as indicated below. For instruments run in a queue, PI's submit their targets before the trimester begins; observations are scheduled and obtained by observers at the telescope.
  • Magellan instruments, with two exceptions, are not queue-scheduled. That said, a service observer is now available to CfA PIs; travel to Magellan is no longer required. The expectation is that the service observer will do the observing unless PIs choose otherwise.

INSTRUMENTS

1.2m FLWO Available? Queue?
Optical KeplerCam - CCD imager YES YES
1.5m FLWO Available?Queue?
Optical FAST - moderate dispersion single-slit spectrograph YES YES
TRES - high dispersion single-fiber echelle spectrograph YES YES

6.5m MMT Available? Queue?
Optical Binospec - moderate dispersion multi-slit spectrograph and imager YES YES
Hectospec - moderate dispersion 300-fiber spectrograph YES* YES
Hectochelle - high dispersion 240-fiber echelle spectrograph YES* YES
Blue Channel - moderate dispersion single-slit spectrograph YES no
Red Channel - moderate dispersion single-slit spectrograph use Binospec
MMT Cam - small field-of-view imager YES YES
SPOL - imaging spectropolarimeter Contact PI no
Near-IR MMIRS - multi-slit spectrograph and imager YES YES
ARIES - adaptive optics imager and spectrograph no** no
MMT-Pol - imaging polarimeter no** no
* Hectospec/chelle are not scheduled in Dec-Jan because of a low-temperature operational limit.

** MMT Adaptive Optics System is offline for upgrades; it is not expected to be available for proposals until 2021.

6.5m Magellan I = Baade Available? Queue?
Optical IMACS - moderate dispersion multi-slit spectrograph and imager YES no
MagE - moderate dispersion single-slit echellette spectrograph YES no
Near-IR FourStar - wide-field imager YES no
FIRE - high dispersion single-slit echelle spectrograph YES no
6.5m Magellan II = Clay
Optical Megacam - wide-field imager YES no
LDSS-3 - moderate dispersion multi-slit spectrograph YES no
MIKE - high dispersion single-slit echelle spectrograph YES no
M2FS - fiber fed multi-object spectrograph (planning) (reductions) Contact PI* YES
PFS - high dispersion single-slit echelle spectrograph Contact PI YES
PISCO - parallel imager no no
Near-IR MagAO - adaptive optics imager(s) Contact PI no
* International travel restrictions may prohibit M2FS runs.

[Updated Sept 9, 2020 by WRB.]