2019A NASA Keck Time Solicitation


The call for proposals for NASA Keck time in observing semester 2019A (February 1 - July 31, 2019) is now open for professional research using the NASA allocation for telescope observing time at the W.M. Keck Observatory.

2019A proposals are due Thursday, September 13, 2018 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 2019A

  1. Letters of support for general mission support proposals must be requested from NASA HQ by August 30, two weeks before the submission deadline.

  2. Twilight Observing: Keck now has a program for acquiring snapshot observations in morning twilight. The program is designed to accommodate extra infrared observations during normally scheduled visible observations, when those observations end early and surrender the last portion of the night. Each partner institution will be limited to one (1) program per partner institution per semester. The programs designed for longer term (> 1-2 years) will be given priority. Click here for more information on applying for twilight observing time.

  3. HIRES PRV Configuration: Beginning with the 2019A semester, HIRES will be available in a dedicated precision radial velocity (PRV) configuration. HIRES data collected in this prescribed HIRES PRV configuration will be compatible with the public radial velocity pipeline processing environment available at NExScI which will produce wavelength-calibrated 1D spectra and time-series of relative PRVs. Please see Section Ib.iv for important considerations for observers wishing to use the HIRES PRV configuration.

  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 will continue to have the ability to propose both cadence and Target of Opportunity (ToO) programs. Policies related to Target of Opportunity or Time Domain Astronomy proposals can be found at ToO Policies and cadence observing policy. These policies are not applicable to Subaru Exchange time. For Semester 2019A, four Keck partners (UC, Caltech, UH, and NASA) have agreed that TAC-approved ToO (TDA) projects will be able to interrupt observers at any of the four Institutions, to increase the utility of the ToO process. 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 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.
    • There is a one week shutdown on Keck 1 planned in June for repairs to be made on the azimuth journal. It is tentatively scheduled for the mid-June bright time.
    • NIRSPEC: Nirspec (NIRSPAO) will be unavailable in February and March to complete follow up work to the instrument upgrade.
    • NIRC2: will be unavailable for 3-5 weeks for a vector vortex coronagraph upgrade. This period of downtime will be scheduled to meet the scientific demands of the observing community and may begin in late March.
    • Several AO upgrade projects will be occurring through the semester that will require short periods of AO downtime. These will generally be scheduled during timeframes of low AO demand during the semester.
    • SUBARU exchange: The SUBARU-KECK exchange will continue as previous semesters with flexibility as to the number of nights available for exchange. The number of exchanged nights will be determined based on community demand. Keck will offer LRIS, HIRES, OSIRIS, and MOSFIRE on Keck-I, and DEIMOS, ESI, NIRSPEC/NIRSPAO, KCWI, NIRES, and NIRC2 on Keck-II. Subaru will offer COMICS, FOCAS, HDS, MOIRCS, IRCS (with NGS/LGSAO188 elements), SCExAO, CHARIS, IRD (shared risk) and Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC). Note that FOCAS Integral Field Unit (IFU) mode will be available in the latter half of 19A in a shared-risk mode.

      Subaru may support half night allocations, but whole night allocations are preferred. For HSC programs, Subaru may support "queue" observing mode, if specified in the proposal. Although this mode is in shared-risk for Keck users in 19A (Subaru will try their best but cannot guarantee the completion or provide any compensation), queue-mode may allow more flexible allocation such as e.g. very short 0.25 night request. Please check the HSC queue mode website for more details. Please note that due to frequent earthquakes since May 2018, the Top Unit Exchange may be unavailable throughout the semester for the sake of equipment and worker's safety.

Key Dates

August 30: Mission Support letter requests due to NASA HQ

September 13: 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 20th, 2018 15:57:01)