NASA Keck Time

The 2024B NASA Keck Call for Proposals is now available with proposals due March 14, 2024 at 4 pm PDT.

Click for 2024B semester information

Useful Links

The Keck Telescopes are two 10-meter aperture telescopes and are operated for the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), the University of Hawaii (UH), NASA, and the California Institute of Technology by the W. M. Keck Observatory in Waimea, Hawaii.

NExScI administers NASA's portion of time on the Keck Telescopes, issuing the twice yearly proposal solicitations, conducting the peer review, and finalizing selections. If you require access to a past NASA Keck Call for Proposals, please email us at

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, extragalactic, and cosmology topics.

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).

Subject to availability of funds, Principal Investigators of programs awarded time will receive limited research and travel funding with the amount determined through formulaic means. Successful Target of Opportunity and twilight observing proposals do not receive financial support since the observations may never be triggered. NExScI manages the Keck PI Data Awards (KPDAs) and will contract with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to administer their disbursement.

Remote Observing

The Remote observing facility (ROF) at IPAC (Pasadena, CA) is available for use by NASA Keck time awardees. Scientists wishing to use the IPAC ROF should start the approval process 5 weeks in advance of their scheduled observations.

WMKO also supports at-home (pajama mode) observing for experienced observers. Please see here for information about remote observing, including at-home observing.

Keck Observatory Archive

NExScI and WMKO maintain the Keck Observatory Archive (KOA), an archiving and access system for data collected with all past and present Keck instruments. All Keck data are publicly accessible following the 12-month (for NASA Keck data collected after 2023A; prior to 2023A the period of exclusive use for NASA Keck data was 18-months) or 18-month (for other Keck partner institutions) period of exclusive use.

NASA IRTF Keck User's Group (NIKUG)

NExScI facilitates the NASA IRTF Keck User's Group (NIKUG). The NIKUG reviews all aspects of the operations of the facility, including budgets, observing proposal review, visitor support, telescope performance, maintenance, instrumentation, operational procedures, scientific results, and future plans. The group meets twice a year and reports to NASA Headquarters. Current membership of the NASA Keck NIKUG can be found here.

This NASA Keck web site is intended 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.

(last updated April 16th, 2024 12:29:47)