--- Released 2022 October 11 ---

Dear Lowell SciStaff & LDT Partner Members and Representatives:

Below is the 2023A LDT Call for Proposals.

A copy of this CfP may also be found on Confluence at:


This email is being sent out on the DCT-TAC-announcements@lowell.edu mailing list. 

LDT Partner Reps: Please be sure to forward this to any new users who might not already be signed up for this mailing list. Email tac@lowell.edu with names & emails of anyone who needs to be added to the DCT-TAC-announcements@lowell.edu email list.

2023A LDT Call for Proposals

Please read the following entirely for important changes from earlier quarters.

COVID-19 Note:  The proposal call is currently running on a normal schedule, and presumes a mostly normal semester. At this point on-site observing is an option, but Lowell reserves the right to change this if conditions warrant. For 2023A planning, please assume that we will be able to support both on-site and remote observing, much as we did before COVID-19. Therefore it will be important to indicate if you prefer to observe on-site or remotely so that when we do go back to both modes, we will know your preference.

Notable items:

This call covers the night starting 01 January running through 30 June 2023 MST.

  1. If you know of someone at your institution who did not receive this and should have, please contact tac@lowell.edu with the appropriate information to get them added to the distribution list.
  2. When indicating specific nights in your request, please use the LOCAL date (Mountain Standard Time at LDT) at the start of the night.  You can include UT as well, but all scheduling is done in LOCAL date.
  3. The proposal form has NOT changed. We are still using version 1.5.3. Please UPDATE to this if you are still not using it (this applies to both the .tex and .cls files).
  4. The status of NIHTS for 2023A is unclear at this point.  The problem is under active investigation. As of now (Oct 11, 2022), NIHTS is still not operational and the cause is still not known.  If you wish to propose to use NIHTS, you are advised to have a plan for alternate instrumentation or a backup program that does not depend upon it. Email tac@lowell.edu if you have specific questions.
  5. DeVeny, and LMI will be generally available for science observations, and for remote observations by experienced users. 
  6. For DeVeny users, when indicating the desired grating, please include (a) the Ruling (g/mm), (b) the Blaze angle and (c) the grating ID (DV1 through DV9) from the list on the instruments page.
  7. EXPRES will be available for general use. Anyone interested in using it must contact the EXPRES PI, Debra Fischer, to discuss and coordinate. Non-Yale users will be charged the agreed upon premium for use.  Updates to the system documentation and workflow are in progress now and expected to make 2023A observing smoother.
  8. Speckle: QWSSI will be available this semester; DSSI has moved to a new home.  Several improvements have been made to QWSSI over the past semester resulting in improved sensitivity.  As previously, it will likely be scheduled in one or two blocks. Please consult with Gerard van Belle.
  9. RIMAS is not expected to be available for science use this semester.
  10. Please indicate on your proposal cover page if you need twilight time for calibrations.
  11. If you are proposing for ToO time, please review the ToO policy and guidelines.

This Call for Proposals applies only to LDT.

Lowell requests for Anderson Mesa telescopes should be sent directly to Larry Wasserman (lhw@lowell.edu).

Proposals for LDT time from Lowell users for LDT time are due by Noon MST on Tuesday, 1-November-2022 and should be submitted by emailing a PDF to <tac@lowell.edu>. Questions should be sent to <tac@lowell.edu>.

Partner Reps: Partner institution requests for LDT time are due by 5pm MST on Friday, 4-November-2022 and should be submitted by emailing the PDF proposal cover sheets to <tac@lowell.edu>. Please also include a rank ordered listing to facilitate scheduling. Questions should be sent to <tac@lowell.edu>.

The central repository of information for proposers and observers is at:


The schedule is expected to be posted by Thursday 01-December-2022.

Science time

LDT calendars for future semesters, showing which half-nights are dark/gray/bright etc are at: 

In general LDT time is quantized in multiples of quarter nights, with half nights being the preferred unit; we try not to break whole night allocations into separated half or quarter nights except if necessary for scheduling. If you require whole nights, please justify that in your observing request. If you are asking for less than half-nights, please explain and justify in your observing request. Normal night fractions are quarter, half, three quarters and whole.

Assuming 24 engineering nights throughout the semester, we anticipate about 157 nights will be available for science in this semester. The nominal allocation ranges for each partner are:

  • BU:     20 to 30 nights
  • UMd:    11 to 13 nights
  • NAU:    10 to 12 nights
  • Toledo:  9 to 12 nights
  • Yale:   10 to 15 nights [1]
  • Lowell: 97 to 75 nights

- [1] Yale is welcome to request time with instruments other than EXPRES, but it is understood that the primary purpose of the Yale time is to use EXPRES.

While partners may request more time than their above nominal allocation range, there is no guarantee that the overage can be scheduled. Partner requests should provide clear priority rankings of their projects to guide schedule conflict resolution.

Target of Opportunity (ToO) proposals will be accepted this semester. Please review the ToO policy if you plan to submit for ToO time.

Time Critical Observation (TCO) status can be requested on the proposal form. TCO status is intended for situations where an event is rare (occultation, exoplanet transit, etc), there's been significant effort to coordinate observations across facilities, or other similar rationale.  ToO's may be requested during TCO designated time, but the TCO observer has the right to refuse the ToO. TCO requests are evaluated and granted by the Director or their designate.

ToO requests for time during engineering time are similarly at the discretion of the engineering time lead in case there are urgent facility issues requiring attention. If there is no pressing engineering need, it is likely a ToO would be accepted. 

How to propose for LDT time

Proposers at all institutions should use the Lowell LDT Proposal Form to communicate the details of their time requests (see below). Each individual partner has their own internal method of selecting and prioritizing which proposals are forwarded for scheduling. If you are a non-Lowell proposer, please contact your local LDT partner representative for internal deadlines and procedures at your institution. All partner requests must include at minimum the cover page information of the LDT Proposal Form; requirements for the Science Justification section vary among the partners.

Proposal/Observing Request Form

The latest version of the LaTeX template and style file are available for download at:

If LaTeX is correctly configured on your system you should be able to generate the example template PDF with:

    unzip proposal-template-master.zip
cd proposal-template-master

The latest version number is v1.5.3 and was released on 2018 Jan 06, and posted up ahead of this CfP. This is the same version as was used for 2022A.

If for some reason you are NOT using the latest version, please, please update.

Please ensure you are using this latest version. Old versions do not properly carry through some of the required metadata. This applies to both full proposals and to cover page only submissions. The latest version will have a tag line  on the bottoms of the first page that says: "Lowell Observatory DCT proposal L A T E X macros v1.5.3 (Released 2018-01-06)"

I hope that we will be able to use this version for an extended period.

Please email any questions/comments regarding the template to <tac@lowell.edu>.

Lowell Observatory Users

All scientific staff of Lowell Observatory are eligible to apply for LDT time. Incoming science staff are eligible to apply for time after their start date, even if the proposal deadline is before their start date. Departing staff members are eligible to apply if the proposal deadline is before their departure date.

Lowell proposers for LDT time should submit proposals in PDF format for LDT to the TAC at <tac@lowell.edu> using the above LaTeX template and style file. Out of date forms will be returned with a request to update. The template and style file have changed based on feedback from proposers and TAC members, so please read the instructions carefully. As long as proposers respect the page limits, proposals may use the cover page(s) generated from the LaTeX template and PDF pages generated from elsewhere (e.g. Microsoft Word) to combine into a single PDF. Note that TAC members may not be experts in your sub-field and you should write for a non-specialist audience. Please do NOT reduce the font size.

LDT partners

Observers at LDT Partners should route their proposals through their local TAC process, which may have additional requirements from the above LaTeX proposal form. Observing requests should be submitted using the latest LaTeX proposal form and style file (see above); partner requests, at minimum, need to fill out the Cover Sheet and Observing Request Details sections. Not all partners require a Science Justification section.

Partner representatives: Please submit your partner time requests to tac@lowell.edu before the deadline. Please make sure you give a clear prioritization to the set of projects you are submitting to help guide the resolution of scheduling conflicts. Please send any questions to <tac@lowell.edu>.

Remote Observing

[COVID-19 Note: We plan to support both remote and on-site observing in 2023A.  New users should coordinate with either the LDT staff or other users at their home institution to ensure that they are prepared for their observing time. The requirement that observers be on-site for their first run will continue to be waived for the 2023A semester in light of the continuing impacts of covid. ]

[For non-COVID times:] If you want to observe remotely, you should indicate in your application that you are requesting remote observing support and we will do our best to accommodate as many of those requests as possible. Depending on the number of requests and the staffing levels required, we may not be able to satisfy every remote request. Requests are shown on the LDT schedule as either "Remote Requested" (if the request has not yet been approved) or "Remote" (if the request has been approved and staff are available). Requests for remote observing support made after the schedule has been drafted are more difficult to accommodate and face a greater risk that we will not have the necessary staff to support the request. We support remote observing with (a) the LMI, (b) the DeVeny spectrograph, (c) the NIHTS spectrograph, and (d) the EXPRES spectrograph (if you have talked with D. Fischer or her designate first). In those cases, users should be sure to specify their choices of filters and/or gratings ahead of time, since filter and grating replacements remain a day-time only operation to minimize risk. To offset the extra costs involved in supporting remote observing, a 5% premium will be charged for remote observations, e.g. a whole night of observing will be charged as 1.05 nights. There will be a minimum remote observing charge of 0.01 nights, e.g. a 0.1night remote observing session will be charged as 0.11 nights.

Instruments Available

To reduce the length of this already overly long document, most of the instrument information has been removed. This CfP will include notes about changes to the instruments, and a pointer to where the more extended instrument information can be found.

For a brief overview of LDT's current instrumentation and the near-term future instrumentation plans, see the "LDT Instrumentation" page on Confluence (https://confluence.lowell.edu/display/LDTOI/LDT+Instrumentation).

For this semester we are planning:

- LMI: Available, including for remote.

- DeVeny: Available, including for remote.

- NIHTS: Currently not operational.  Status for the semester is unclear at this time.

- QWSSI/Speckle: Available - depending upon demand, and instrument and PI availability. Likely time for speckle will be before RIMAS arrives.  All speckle will be done using QWSSI.

- RIMAS: Not available; expected to begin commissioning during this semester. 

- EXPRES: Available, including remote (contact the EXPRES PI, Debra Fischer).

- POETS: Available by arrangement (contact the instrument PI, S. Levine).

LMI: Available - no changes, see the LMI Instrumentation Page (https://confluence.lowell.edu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=59114109)

Questions about LMI should be directed to Phil Massey (massey@lowell.edu).

DeVeny: Available - 9 gratings available, see the DeVeny Instrumentation Page (https://confluence.lowell.edu/display/LDTOI/DeVeny+Optical+Spectrograph)

Questions about the DeVeny should be directed to Tom Bida (tbida@lowell.edu).

NIHTS: Uncertain availability -  see the NIHTS Instrumentation Page (https://confluence.lowell.edu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=59114403)

Questions about NIHTS should be directed to Nick Moskovitz (nmosko@lowell.edu).

QWSSI/Speckle: Available - contact G. van Belle, see the QWSSI Instrumentation Page (https://confluence.lowell.edu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=59114413)

Questions about QWSSI should be directed to Gerard van Belle (gerard@lowell.edu)

RIMAS: *Not available*  - delivery expected in 2023A - see the RIMAS Instrumentation Page (https://confluence.lowell.edu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=59114415)

EXPRES: Available - contact D. Fischer, see the EXPRES Instrumentation Page (https://confluence.lowell.edu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=59114409)

Questions about EXPRES should be directed to Debra Fischer (debra.fischer@yale.edu).

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