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Click for the 2021B NASA Keck Call for Proposals

The call for proposals for NASA Keck time in observing semester 2021B (August 1, 2021 - January 31, 2022) is now open for professional research using the NASA allocation for telescope observing time at the W.M. Keck Observatory.

The opportunity to propose as a Principal Investigator (PI) for the NASA time on the Keck Telescopes is open to all U.S.-based astronomers, i.e. those with their principal affiliation at a U.S. institution.


Online Submission Page

Key Dates

Thursday, March 4, 2021: deadline to request letters from NASA HQ and the project for General Mission Support proposals

Thursday, March 18, 2021: All proposals and supporting letters due to NExScI by 4 pm Pacific


Application Procedure


Highlights for 2021B and advance items for 2022A:

  1. New for 21B: Please enter a short program title (~3-5 words) in the online submission form. This will give the TAC members a short hand way to refer to each proposal as we move towards a Dual Anonymous Review Process (see item 8 below).

  2. A NASA Keck proposal template is available in both Word and Latex formats. Use of the template is optional but will help you submit a compliant proposal.

  3. Time Domain Astronomy and Target of Opportunity programs: Observers can propose for both Time Domain Astronomy (cadence) and Target of Opportunity (ToO) programs. See Section IV for important details on cadence requests as well as the number of ToO interrupts allowed each semester.

  4. Twilight Observing: NASA is able to allocate one twilight program per telescope for a total of up to two programs per semester per partner. On Keck I, OSIRIS-NGS (imager only) is available, and on Keck II, NIRC2-NGS is available. This program is designed to accommodate extra infrared observations during normally scheduled visible observations, when those observations end early and the last portion of the night is surrendered. Longer term twilight programs (>1-2 years) will be given priority. Please read the guidelines here.

  5. HIRES PRV Configuration: HIRES data collected in the prescribed 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. At-Home ("pajama mode") Observing:
    • At-Home observing will continue to be available to observers
    • Keck will support up to two observers for at home observing: one primary and one secondary observer. Those two individuals may help other team members get set up, but Keck support will be limited for additional observers.
    • At home observing requires the installation of software which only runs on linux and macOS operating systems.
    • Observers using at home observing should plan to work with Keck staff to install and test the software several days ahead of their run to allow time for troubleshooting.

  7. Special notes and considerations for the Keck and Subaru instruments in 2021B are available on the WMKO instrument page and include (but are not limited to):

    • Due to the likely continued impacts on the observatory and our observing community by COVID-19:
      • There may be unforeseen impacts on our ability to execute the allocated 21B schedule. In particular, specialty modes (e.g. PyWFS, ESI IFU, VV coronagraphs) may be unavailable for operation.
      • Some instruments and modes of instruments like NIRSPAO and ESI may be scheduled in limited blocks or campaigns to minimize load on support crews.
      • In order to reduce the support load on observatory staff, partial night allocations in 21B may be limited. Proposers should consider whether full night allocations can meet their science goals.
    • LRISp: LRIS with polarimeter will not be available in 2021B while the polarimeter undergoes repair.
    • LRIS: Replacement of the LRIS red detector is expected in April 2021. We expect that there will be no restrictions on its use in 2021B.
    • NIRC2:
      • The vortex coronagraph in LGS mode is not available (NGS is available).
      • The vortex coronagraph in K band is only available through collaboration with the vortex development team.
      • The vortex coronagraph with the PyWFS is only available through collaboration with the PyWFS and vortex development teams.
      Please see the NIRC2 Manual for information about vortex operations.
    • DEIMOS: The top-left CCD on the detector mosaic is not operational. Please read these guidelines on how to design your MOS masks with this issue in mind.
    • SUBARU exchange: The SUBARU-KECK exchange will continue as previous semesters with flexibility as to the number of nights available for exchange. See the WMKO instrument page for complete details on facility and instrument availability in 21B.
  8. For 2022A:
    • At the request of NASA HQ, as of 2022A, the NASA Keck proposal process will use the Dual Anonymous Peer Review (DAPR) format being adopted by NASA across all programs. More information on DAPR for NASA Keck time will be provided in the 2022A Call for Proposals available in mid-August 2021.
    • The 2022A NASA Keck Call for Proposals will include a call for the next round of Key Strategic Mission Support (KSMS) proposals. Previous KSMS programs are described here. Details of the time available for KSMS programs will be included in the 2022A Call for proposals.


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(last updated March 12th, 2021 20:37:03)