2020A NASA Keck Time Solicitation


The call for proposals for NASA Keck time in observing semester 2020A (February 1 - July 31, 2020) is now open for professional research using the NASA allocation for telescope observing time at the W.M. Keck Observatory.

2020A proposals are due Thursday, September 12, 2019 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 2020A

  1. Any NASA PI who would like to recover scheduled observing time lost due to the July/August observatory closure should resubmit their proposal written as if the time was lost to weather. The proposal will be evaluated by the TAC, along with the other proposals submitted for the semester, and will not receive any special consideration.

  2. Letters of support for general mission support proposals must be requested from NASA HQ by August 29, two weeks before the submission deadline.

  3. Observers can propose for both Time Domain Astronomy (cadence) and Target of Opportunity (ToO) programs. Programs scheduled in increments of 1/2 nights or smaller are now by default considered interruptible by a ToO, which can last up to 1 hour. Note that ToOs can be requested as "NASA-only" or as "partner interrupts". See Section IV for important details on the number of ToO interrupts allowed each semester.

  4. Twilight Observing: In semester 2019B, the NASA Keck TAC awarded a multisemester program for twilight observing through semseter 2021B. Each partner insitution is limited to one twilight observing program per semester, therefore NASA is not accepting twilight observing proposls for semseter 2020A.

  5. HIRES PRV Configuation: HIRES is available in a dedicated precision radial velocity (PRV) configuration. HIRES data collected in the prescribed HIRES PRV configuration are compatible with the public radial velocity pipeline processing environment available at NExScI. Observers wishing to use the HIRES PRV configuration should read Section Ib.iv and full documentation here.

  6. Special notes and considerations for the Keck instruments are available on the WMKO instrument page and include (but are not limited to):
    • Keck 1 LGS will be unavailable from February 1 through mid-April for commissioning of a new laser.

    • OSIRIS-NGS will be unavailable from February 1 through March 15th for installation of the Holographic Aperture Mask.
    • OSIRIS-LGS will be unavailable from February 1 through mid-April, when the K1 laser returns to service.

    • NIRSPEC: Nirspec (Nirspao) will be unavailable from February 1 through mid-March for routine servicing to remove ice from the dewar window, and to address follow up items from last year's upgrade.

    • SUBARU exchange: The SUBARU-KECK exchange will continue as previous semesters with the number of exchanged nights determined based on the demand from each community. Note that Subaru may support half night allocations, but whole night allocations are preferred. 2020A is the last opportunity to use COMICS since it will be decommissioned soon. Please refer to the WMKO instrument page for complete details.

Key Dates

Thursday, August 29: deadline to request letters from NASA HQ for General Mission Support proposals.

Thursday, September 12: All proposals and supporting letters due to NExScI by 4 pm PDT

Useful Links and Information

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 August 13th, 2019 08:40:28)