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National Optical Astronomy Observatory

Telescopes and Instruments for 2015B

Observing time at the facilities available through the National Optical Astronomy Observatory is allocated via peer review twice a year. Proposals must be received by Tuesday, 31 March 2015 for the upcoming 2015B semester (August 2015 through January 2016). All proposals are due the evening of the due date by midnight MST.

Please read the following sections for information on telescope and instrument availability at Gemini North and South, Subaru, AAT, CTIO, and KPNO for the 2015B semester.

What's New on Facilities Available through NOAO

The following changes to instrumentation at all facilities available through NOAO are noted here to alert investigators preparing proposals. For more information, see the NOAO Newsletter.

Gemini North and South

The Gemini Observatory is expected to release a Call for Proposals for 2015B on February 27. Proposers requesting Gemini time must use the Gemini Phase-I Tool (PIT).

Gemini-Subaru Exchange

Gemini and Subaru are continuing their time-exchange program. A desired minimum of five classically-scheduled nights will be available to the Gemini community, providing there is sufficient demand from both sides of the exchange. Please see the Gemini call for proposals for more information.

Community Access Time

AAT: Due to a time-exchange program between CTIO and the Australian Astronomical Observatory, ten nights of classical observing time at the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope will be available to the community during 2015B.


Blanco 4-m Availability in 2015B: The Dark Energy Survey (DES) has been granted 105 nights per year over a period of five years, primarily in "B" semesters. Community access in "A" semesters will be largely unaffected. In 2015B, CTIO will be offering the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), the Infrared Side-Port Imager (ISPI), and the Cerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (COSMOS).

Block Scheduling: We currently allocate up to one night of engineering time for check-out purposes for each switch from the prime to f/8 focus and the same amount of time to switch back. Consequently, we are block scheduling use of f/8 instruments as much as possible. In doing this, we will try to satisfy the optimum date range requested in proposals, but please be as flexible as possible when specifying these and equally be sure to very clearly indicate if your proposal is time critical on the scheduling constraints line.

TripleSpec4 Near-IR Spectrograph: We plan to commission the TripleSpec4 near-infrared spectrograph during 2015A. However, as the first run on the telescope occurs after the 2015B deadline, this instrument will not be made available for regular proposals until 2016A. Depending on the progress of commissioning, we may issue a special call for limited science verification proposals in 2015B.

The SOAR instrument complement and other capabilities (including remote observing) are generally unchanged from prior semesters. However, the SOAR web site has been significantly overhauled and is now located at:

The old site remains active for now, but will not be retained. Please use (and bookmark) the new web site.

The grating complement on the Goodman spectrograph has evolved somewhat. The currently available gratings are: 400, 600, 930, 1200, 1800, 2100 and 2400 l/mm. Please note that the 300 l/mm grating has been retired as the 400 l/mm grating provides better performance. We also anticipate that a second camera for the spectrograph will become available some time in 2015B, which will incorporate a deep-depletion e2v CCD with better red performance (but somewhat inferior UV performance). Once commissioned, it will be made available to observers whose programs may benefit from it. Given the uncertainty regarding its exact availability, observer should write proposals based on the current camera only, though they should feel free to indicate an interest in the red camera.

CTIO Small Telescopes: Time on the small telescopes at CTIO will be available to NOAO users in 2015B via the usual proposal process. The telescopes are operated by the SMARTS consortium with up to 15% of time available to the NOAO community.

The 1.5-m and 1.3-m telescopes are only available in service/queue mode. The 0.9-m is only available in classically-scheduled "user" nights, with requests for 7 full nights strongly preferred. The 1.0-m telescope is currently closed. The 1.3-m telescope is used primarily for monitoring projects, thus programs are scheduled in non-contiguous segments of an hour or less with a limit of three hours total within any given night.

Non-sidereal tracking is no longer supported as service or queue observing. The only option for non-sidereal is user time on the 0.9m.


KOSMOS (4m) is offered in both single-slit and multi-object modes. See for more information.

NEWFIRM (4m): Permanently installed filters include J, H, and Ks. See for further information, filter availability, and policy on filter changes.

ODI (WIYN): The upgraded ODI with 40'x48' focal plane is scheduled for recommissioning at the end of 2015A, and will be offered on a shared-risk basis in 2015B.

GradPak and HexPak (WIYN) are IFUs containing multiple fiber diameters in the same head, designed to sample different spatial scales within the same observation. They are offered in 2015B on a shared-risk basis, subject to approval of the PI. Proposers should check the WIYN status web page, for contact information before proposing.

Remote Observing: KPNO offers remote observing for selected programs in 2015B. If you are interested in this opportunity, please see the requirements for observing remotely at . If you are requesting remote observing, please make a note of this in the "Scheduling constraints and non-usable dates" section that appears at the bottom of the first page of the NOAO proposal form and include any additional details in the "Technical Description" text of your observing run.

Telescope and Instrument Lists for 2015B

The following telescope/instrument/detector combinations are available in 2015B. This list is revised twice a year and is published on this web page ( .)

Instruments at Gemini Telescopes
Proposal CodeInstrument/Detector
Gemini North
GMOS-N Gemini Optical Imager, Multi-Object Spectrograph and IFU
GNIRS Gemini Near Infra-Red Spectrograph
GRACES Gemini Remote Access to CFHT EsPaDOnS Spectrograph
NIFS near-IR IFU spectrograph
NIRI Near-Infrared Imager
TEXES? Texas Echelon Cross Echelle Spectograph (visitor instrument)

Gemini South
FLAMINGOS-2 Near-IR wide field imager and spectrometer.
GMOS-S Gemini Optical Imager, Multi-Object Spectrograph and IFU
GPI Gemini Planet Imager
GSAOI + GeMS Gemini South AO Imager and Multi-Conjugate AO System

Subaru (Exchange Time)
COMICS Cooled Mid-IR Camera and Spectrometer
FMOS Near-IR Fiber-Fed Multi-Object Spectrograph
FOCAS Faint Object Camera and Spectrograph
HDS High Dispersion Spectrograph
HSC Hyper Suprime-Cam wide-field Optical Imager
IRCS IR Camera and Spectrograph
IRCS+AO188 IRCS + Natural and Laser Guide Star AO
MOIRCS Multi-Object IR Camera and Spectrograph
Suprime-Cam wide-field Optical Imager

Instruments at the Anglo-Australian Telescope
Proposal CodeInstrument/Detector
AAOmega+2dF Fiber-fed Optical Spectrograph
AAOmega+KOALA 1000-element optical IFU
HERMES+2dF High Efficiency and Resolution Multi-Element Spectrograph
IRIS2 n-IR imager and longslit/multi-slit spectrograph
UCLES Cross-dispersed Echelle Spectrograph
UCLES +CYCLOPS2 Cross-dispersed Echelle Spectrograph + 16-element IFU

Instruments at CTIO Telescopes
Proposal CodeInstrument/Detector
4-m Blanco Telescope
DECam Dark Energy Camera
ISPI IR SidePort Imager + 2K HgCdTe
COSMOSCerro Tololo Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph

4-m SOAR Telescope
Goodman Goodman Spectrograph + Fairchild 4Kx4K CCD
SOISOAR Optical Imager + E2V 4Kx4K Mosaic
OSIRISOhio State IR Imager/Spectrometer
Spartan Spartan IR Imager
SAM SOAR Adaptive Module

1.5-m Telescope
CHIRON CHIRON fiber echelle spectrograph

1.3m Telescope
ANDI+CCDIR Cass Direct + CCD/IR Queue-Service

0.9-m Telescope
CFIM+T2K Cass Direct + SITe 2K CCD

Primary Instruments/Detectors at KPNO Telescopes
Proposal CodeInstrument/Detector
4-m Mayall Telescope
MOSA Prime Focus CCD Camera with Mosaic Imager
NEWFIRMvery wide-field IR imager
KOSMOSKitt Peak Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph in single-slit mode
KOSMOSMKitt Peak Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph in multi-object mode

WIYN (3.5-m Telescope)
ODI(40'x48' focal plane) One Degree Imager
GRDPK GradPak IFU + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD
HEXPK HexPak IFU + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD
HYDRBHydra + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Blue camera
HYDRRHydra + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Red camera
SPSPKR SparsePak Fiber Array + Bench Spectrograph + STA1, Red camera
WHIRCWIYN High Resolution IR Camera
DSSIDifferential Speckle Survey Instrument (available for exoplanet proposals only)

WIYN (0.9-m Telescope)
HDI Half-Degree Imager

Instrument Contacts

QUESTIONS? You can contact staff scientists using the information linked below.

Gemini Staff Contacts:

Gemini assistance is available by sending email to an NOAO Gemini Science Center Instrument Support Scientist, to, or through the Gemini Help Desk at

CTIO Staff Contacts:

Please see CTIO's Staff Contact List.

KPNO Staff Contacts:

Please see KPNO's Staff Contact List.

Proposal questions, as well as any comments and/or suggestions, may be directed to

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NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Last updated: February 25, 2015

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NOAO >   Observing Information >   2015B Instruments List

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