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Proposals Invited for WIYN Semester 2015B

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 09:28

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have entered into a partnership for exoplanet research to support community use of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) share of WIYN 3.5-meter telescope time. This new NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research (NN-EXPLORE) program seeks to advance our understanding of exoplanets and exoplanetary systems in areas of mutual interest to both agencies.

On behalf of that partnership, NOAO hereby requests observing proposals for the 2015B semester (August 2015 through January 2016) on the WIYN telescope that are targeted to general exoplanet-related research, with particular emphases on follow-up observations of Kepler and K2 exoplanet-related targets, and observations in preparation for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. The scope of the NN-EXPLORE program includes observations to do the following:

  • Confirm or validate exoplanet candidates
  • Characterize known exoplanets and exoplanetary systems
  • Characterize the (exozodiacal) dust environments of exoplanet-hosting or potentially-exoplanet-hosting stars
  • Explore the formation, evolution, and diversity of exoplanetary systems

Stellar observations such as spectroscopy and imaging to characterize stellar properties and search for background eclipsing binaries fall within the scope of the NN-EXPLORE program, providing the relevance of the proposed work to the exoplanet-research focus of the program is clearly established.

The 2015B semester is the first of this new program and will serve as a pathfinder in anticipation of a continuing partnership in FY 2016 and FY 2017, should the budgets allow. In 2015B, exoplanet researchers are invited to propose to use existing instrumentation (described below) for classical observing at WIYN. Proposals with highly restrictive time or date constraints will not be considered, nor will half-nights be allocated in this initial call. Post-observing support is limited; only the One Degree Imager (ODI) currently has a science pipeline. Data handbooks or IRAF reduction packages are available for the other instruments.

Limited funding support, sufficient to cover travel, modest research expenses, and publications costs, will be provided by NASA to observers under the NN-EXPLORE program. The amount of funding will be determined formulaically based on the number of awards and the available funding. Proposals must provide an explicit justification for the relevance of the proposed observations to the scientific goals of the program. Proposals that fall outside the scope of the program will not be eligible to receive guest observer funding.

For the 2015B semester, the NOAO share of WIYN will be available for the exoplanet program, depending on the time requested and the quality of proposals. Exoplanet-related proposals will be reviewed and selected by a special panel of the NOAO Time Allocation Committee (TAC). Proposals for non-exoplanet research will be accepted in 2015B as well. These will be reviewed by the regular TAC, and approved proposals will be eligible for scheduling if there is time available after the approved exoplanet proposals are scheduled. There will be no guest observer funding for non-exoplanet proposals that are granted time on the telescope.

See the WIYN status page for detailed information about the instruments offered at WIYN in 2015B. Observing proposals are due by 31 March 2015.

Mia Hartman
National Optical Astronomy Observatory
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