CfA Optical/Infrared Telescope Proposal Guidelines


Proposal Deadlines


MMT and FLWO: May-August trimester
Magellan: July-January semester


MMT and FLWO: September-December trimester


MMT and FLWO: January-April trimester
Magellan: January-July semester


Proposal Submission

Proposals are submitted using the online proposal form.

Paper (including FAX) proposals are not accepted.


Proposal Cover Page

Input the title, PI, and other relevant information for your project.

Include a brief abstract. When the proposals are collated for the TAC, abstracts longer than 100 characters are truncated.

To check the length of your cover page, you can generate a Postscript file with the online software.

Cover pages longer than 1 page will be truncated.

Please request the number of nights needed for this proposal and (for long-term projects) the number of nights needed to complete the project. Please do not correct time requests for the possibility of poor weather.


Proposals for Multiple Instruments & Multiple Telescopes

To facilitate organizing and reviewing proposals, please submit a proposal for EACH instrument on each telescope (even if the same telescope).

Each proposal should contain a request for ONE instrument only.

The copy proposal button makes proposal duplication easy.


Types of Proposals

We have 4 types of proposals.

Engineering proposals to test instruments, telescope hardware, or software.

Short proposals for projects that can be completed in one trimester (weather permitting).

Long proposals, initial submission for projects that require several trimesters to complete.

Long proposals, continuing for long term projects that have been allocated time previously.


Scientific Justification

Upload a Postscript file with your scientific justification.

To generate a proper Postscript file from a DVI file:

dvips -Ppdf -o Proposal.dvi

Using this command will generate better computer readable fonts for the TAC review.


Publication List

Include a list of refereed publications using data from CfA facilities for this project.

Please do not include a list of all of your publications.


Tips for Successful Proposals

We recommend 1-2 pages of text, 1-2 figures, and less than a page of references and other supplementary material.

Use 12 point or larger font.

Color figures are accepted but are not printed out in color for the TAC review. They are available online for TAC members to consult if needed.

Long term projects should contain a clear summary of the total number of nights needed to complete the project. Once a long term project is accepted, subsequent proposals should contain a brief summary of the project, and a more detailed summary of the progress made with previous allocations of time and the number of nights needed for completion.

All proposals should include a brief summary of progress/publications with previous allocations of telescope time. This summary should be short enough to fit in the one page of references and supplementary material noted above.