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Click for the 2021A NASA Keck Call for Proposals

The call for proposals for NASA Keck time in observing semester 2021A (February 1 - July 31, 2021) 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, September 3: deadline to request letters from NASA HQ and the project for General Mission Support proposals

Thursday, September 17: All proposals and supporting letters due to NExScI by 4 pm Pacific


Application Procedure


Highlights for 2021A

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Twilight Observing with OSIRIS: WMKO permits twilight observing with the NIRC2 and OSIRIS instruments with a limit of one twilight program per instrument per partner per semester. The NASA Keck TAC has an ongoing NIRC2 twilight program, but is accepting proposals for OSIRIS twilight observing programs for 2021A. Please read the guidelines here

  4. 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.

  5. At-Home ("pajama mode") Observing: During the pandemic, Keck will support up to two observers for at-home observing: one primary and one secondary observer. Additional observers can join but cannot launch the VNC control system for the instruments. At-home observing requires the installation of software which only runs on linux and macOS operating systems. At-home observers will be contacted by Keck staff and should work with this staff to install and test the software several days ahead of their run to allow time for troubleshooting.

  6. Special notes and considerations for the Keck instruments in 2021A 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 21A 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 21A may be limited. Proposers should consider whether full night allocations can meet their science goals.

    • NIRSPEC will be unavailable for 4 weeks in February for routine servicing to remove ice from the dewar window
    • LRIS/LRISp: Observers are advised not to propose programs that depend critically on the LRIS red side. Blue side focused programs are fine. Read the latest information on the LRIS red detector status here.
    • 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.
    • NIRC2:
      • The vortex coronagraph in LGS mode is not 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.

    • 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 21A.


Useful Links


(last updated January 6th, 2021 10:08:47)