Today is the Cycle 20 proposal deadline for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). I am fortunate enough to be in an active research group which is submitting multiple proposals requesting time on HST to try and answer various scientific questions related to the evolution of galaxies. The proposal system generally works in this way: scientific teams write proposals explaining their science goals and how their use of a telescope (HST in this case) will enable them to answer their scientific goals. These proposals are then reviewed by a “Time Allocation Committee” (TAC), who ranks the proposals according to scientific merit and then rewards the best proposals with time on the telescope.
Friday, 24 February 2012
Sunday, 24 January 2010
The past few weeks have been fairly busy for me. I am starting to experience the seemingly never-ending cycle of proposing for telescope time. It started with the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope where proposals were due 15 January. After finishing that, internal requests were due for UVa telescopes. Coming up next is the deadline for NRAO telescopes, such as the Expanded Very Large Array. Fortunately, I don’t have to write any of the proposals from scratch, so that makes things a bit easier.
All of the requests are for data will be used for my PhD thesis, which will be investigating the gas and dynamics of merging pairs of (formerly) spiral galaxies as they transform into elliptical galaxies.
Writing proposals is interesting.. You have to succinctly (usually in 2-3 pages) describe the scientific merit of your project, complete with background and a technical justification showing it is feasible with the telescope. Often, the Time Allocation Committee (TAC) is composed of both experts and non-experts in your sub-field. So, you need to write a proposal which is scientifically accurate and compelling, but write it in such a way that someone on the TAC who is not an expert can still understand the project. It is sometimes a tough balance, especially when given just a few pages..
So, with two proposals down and one to go, I’d better get back to writing!
Monday, 14 September 2009
I guess it is similar to hunting season. Lots of targets and options around, but probably less sitting still and quiet. In fact, quite the opposite!
Proposals for the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope in the Netherlands are due in a bit over 8 hours. I just sent the draft of our proposal back to my advisor for more edits and comments. Fortunately it seems to have converged rather quickly. I suspect there will be one more round before we submit. We should get it in comfortably, with plenty of time.
That is just the beginning though. Upcoming deadlines include those for telescopes operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (Very Large Array, Very Long Baseline Array, Green Bank Telescope), the space-based X-ray telescope XMM-Newton, the Gemini optical telescopes, and a slew of other optical and infrared telescopes. It should be a busy few weeks! These upcoming rounds of proposals are exciting as they will likely form the basis for my dissertation. Always exciting to see that take shape.
Now back to editing!