2016B NASA Keck Time Solicitation


The call for proposals for NASA Keck time in observing semester 2016B (August 1, 2016-January 31, 2017) is now open for professional research using the NASA allocation for telescope observing time at the W.M. Keck Observatory.

Proposals are due Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 4 pm PDT

General Information and Guidelines for applying for NASA Keck Telescope Time

  • 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 Page

Application Procedures for NASA Observing Time at the Keck Observatory

  • 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 2016B

  1. Please refer to the updated 2014 NASA Science Plan to be used for the strategic relevance section of your proposal. Updated information on strategic grading can be found in the general guidelines.
  2. Letters for general mission support proposals must be requested from NASA HQ by March 3, two weeks before submission deadline.
  3. 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.
    • a) KII Laser: LGSAO on Keck II is available throughout the full semester of 2016B with no restrictions. The commissioning of the new Toptica fiber laser on Keck II is going well and we anticipate the project to complete, with the laser fully integrated, tested, and ready for science.
    • b) KI LGSAO: A new infrared tip/tilt (IR T/T) sensor will be available for "shared-risk" operation in 2016B. The details of use and performance can be found here.
    • c) OSIRIS will be unavailable for science from January 1, 2017 through May 1, 2017 for the imager detector upgrade.
    • d) NIRES has not yet arrived at the observatory for commissioning, and as such, will not be offered during 2016B.
    • e) SUBARU exchange: The SUBARU-KECK exchange will continue as last semester with flexibility as to the number of nights available for exchange. The final number will be determined 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. Due to primary mirror recoating, Subaru is unavailable for use from early August to early October. Subaru will offer FOCAS, HDS, MOIRCS (available in a shared risk mode), IRCS (with NGS/LGSAO188 elements), and COMICS. Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) will also be available during the following dark times: late Jul-early August, late Oct- early Nov, late Nov-early Dec, late Dec- early Jan, and late Jan-early Feb. Suprime-Cam and FMOS will be unavailable in 2016B, FMOS is scheduled to be decommissioned, but Suprime-Cam may return to availability in 2017A.
  4. 3/11/16 Update: We have just been informed that the NIRC2 L-Band Vortex Coronagraph will be available for science in shared-risk mode in 2016B. WMKO is preparing official documentation for this new instrument capability that will be posted as soon as it is available. In the meantime, you may use the information in Dimitri Mawet's September 2015 presentation for proposal preparation. Dimitri is the primary point of contact and users are encouraged to contact him prior to proposing. WMKO has prepared a User Manual for the Vortex Coronograph and a Quick User Manual on How to run QACITS for the Vortex Coronograph. These are also linked on the WMKO instruments page.

Key Dates

March 3: Mission Support letter inquiries due to NASA HQ

March 17: 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 May 2nd, 2016 09:47:37)