2018A NASA Keck Time Solicitation


The call for proposals for NASA Keck time in observing semester 2018A (February 1-July 31, 2018) is now open for professional research using the NASA allocation for telescope observing time at the W.M. Keck Observatory.

2018A proposals are due Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 4 pm PDT.

General Information and Guidelines

  • NASA intends the use of the Keck telescopes to be highly strategic in support of on-going missions and/or high priority, long-term science goals. The NASA Keck call is open to a wide range of disciplines spanning from exoplanets and solar system topics to galactic and extragalactic topics. Click here for more details on this proposal call.
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Application Procedures

  • Click here for information on page limits, proposal content, electronic submission, etc.
  • The opportunity to propose as Principal Investigators for the NASA time on the Keck Telescopes is open to all U.S.-based astronomers (i.e. those who have their principal affiliation at a U.S. institution).
  • Online Proposal Submission Site
  • Questions? email:

Highlights for 2018A

  1. This proposal call is contingent on NASA's renewal of the 5-year Cooperative Agreement with the William M. Keck Observatory for 2018-2022.

  2. NASA is soliciting large Key Strategic Mission Support (KSMS) proposals in 2018A.
    • Non-binding, but required, letters of intent are due Aug 16.
    • KSMS proposals will not be accepted for TESS and JWST in this call. Normal mission support and general proposals will be accepted for these missions in 2018A.
    • We anticipate a subsequent KSMS call in 2019B which will accept proposals in support of TESS and JWST.
    • KSMS proposals must include discussion of data products that will result from the observing program, including their value to the wider community.

  3. Letters of support for both large Key Strategic Mission Support (KSMS) proposals and general mission support proposals must be requested from NASA HQ by August 31, two weeks before the submission deadline.

  4. Keck Observatory Archive (KOA) Check: In an effort to use the NASA time on the Keck telescopes as efficiently as possible, we ask proposers to verify to the TAC that their science goals cannot be met through public observations already in the Keck Observatory Archive. To accomplish this, the PI must enter text into a box on the submission page explaining why the data in KOA are not sufficient to meet their science goals.

  5. Time Domain Astronomy: Observers now can propose both cadence (Time Domain Astronomy, TDA) and Target of Opportunity (ToO) programs following the policies outlined here (ToO policies) and here (TDA/cadence policies). Starting in Semester 2017A, four Keck partners (UC, Caltech, UH, and NASA) agreed that TAC-approved ToO/TDA projects may interrupt observers at any of the four institutions. Each TAC can award up to a combined total of six ToO/TDA observations that interrupt any of the other institutions. If you are considering submitting a ToO or cadence observing proposal; see Section IV for important details.

  6. Information on strategic grading is found in Section Ia of the General Information on this call. Please refer to the updated 2014 NASA Science Plan for the strategic relevance section of your proposal.

  7. Special notes and considerations for the Keck instruments are listed below. Please also check the WMKO instrument page for telescope observing limits and the current list of available instruments.
    • The Keck Cosmic Web Imager (KCWI) is now available for full science observing. Please see the KCWI home page for information on the instrument capabilities.
    • SUBARU exchange: The SUBARU-Keck exchange will continue as last semester with flexibility as to the number of nights available for exchange, with the final number based on the demand from each community. Keck will offer DEIMOS, ESI, NIRSPEC, and NIRC2 on Keck-II and LRIS, HIRES, OSIRIS, and MOSFIRE on Keck-I. Generally, all Subaru instruments will be available.
    • NIRES: For 2018A, NIRES is only being offered in shared risk mode. Since NASA time is highly oversubscribed and, since there are no definitive calibration or time estimator data for observers to base their night requests on, NASA only offers instruments once they are fully tested and commissioned for science operations. It is expected that NIRES will be available to the NASA community beginning in 2018B.

Key Dates

August 16: Required, non-binding Notices of Intent for Key Strategic Mission Support Proposals due to NExScI

August 31: General and Key Strategic Mission Support letter requests due to NASA HQ

September 14: All proposals and supporting letters due to NExScI by 4 pm PDT

Useful Links and Information

The icon indicates updates have been made since last semester.

The NASA Keck Time Solicitation Information web site is a source of information for professional researchers who wish to submit proposals for the NASA allocation of observing time at the W. M. Keck Observatory. For general public information, please visit the Keck Home Page.

Web Curator and NExScI Cognizant Official: Dawn Gelino

(last updated September 12th, 2017 14:35:58)