Proposing for Magellan / WIYN observing time

Each semester, the Department of Astrophysical Sciences has access to 6 nights and ~15 nights of observing time with the Magellan Clay/Baade Telescopes and the WIYN Telescope, respectively. This webpage serves as a reference for those department members wishing to take advantage of these available nights. 

Each semester a proposal call will be issued via email to all department members. These calls typically take place in February and September, with proposals due for submission roughly 3-4 weeks later. Any department member can submit a proposal. However, students and postdoctoral researchers are strongly encouraged to discuss proposals with their advisors/mentors before submission. The proposal submission procedures are different for Magellan and WIYN, please see the relevant sections below.

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Latest News

Call for proposals for 2024B (observing dates: Aug 1 2024 – January 31 2025) has been released. See the email from Andy for reference.

All instruments on WIYN and Magellan telescopes should be available. Please note that for Kitt Peak, a summer shutdown occurs, which limits the available time in August on WIYN — the observatory can be closed for multiple weeks.

Proposal deadline 23:59EDT Monday, April 15, 2024

WIYN Proposals: submit through NOIRLab interface (requires an account).

Magellan Proposals: submit pdf document to [email protected] 

Please read the How to Submit section here for more details.

Magellan 6.5m Clay and Baade Telescopes – Las Campanas, Chile

Magellan Telescope

Located at the Las Campanas Observatory (Long/Lat: -70.69239, -29.01418; Elevation: 8254 ft) in the Chilean Andes, the Magellan optical-infrared facility comprises a pair of 6.5m telescopes, Clay and Baade. Each telescope is operated independently. As such, a proposer can only request time on one of these telescopes per proposal. Use of either Baade or Clay can occur in classical (i.e., in person) or remote modes. The available instrumentation is different for each telescope (see below).

Baade Telescope

Clay Telescope

  • MIKE: The Magellan Inamori Kyocera Echelle (MIKE) is a high-throughput double echelle spectrograph. See technical specifications.
  • LDSS3: The Low Dispersion Survey Spectrograph (LDSS3-C) is a high efficiency, wide-field multislit spectrograph. See technical specifications.
  • MEGACAM (soon to be decommissioned): Megacam is a large mosaic CCD camera with a 24′ x 24′ field-of-view. The camera uses 36 2048 x 4608 pixel CCDs with a scale of 0.08″/pixel. Megacam is operated in campaign mode at the f/5 CASS focus. See technical specifications.
  • MagAO (soon to be decommissioned): Magellan Adaptive Optics system  (VisAO and CLIO2). See technical specifications.

Useful Magellan Tools: Magellan Exposure Time Calculators are available  for the direct imaging instruments  and the spectroscopic instruments

Remote Observing with Magellan: observers should read the Remote Observing Guidelines well in advance of their Magellan run to ensure that they are properly prepared for remote observing. Observations can also be performed in classical mode.

WIYN 3.5m Telescope - Kitt Peak, AZ

Images of WIYN

The WIYN 3.5-m telescope is a Ritchey-Chrétien telescope with an altitude-azimuth mount located at the Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, AZ (Long/Lat: -111.5967, 31.9583; Elevation: 6883 ft). 

An important note: for first-time users of an instrument on WIYN, observations MUST be performed in classical mode (meaning that you must travel to and stay at the observatory on Kitt Peak) unless the instrument is specifically “Queue Only”. After a user is familiar with WIYN and the instrument future observations can be performed remotely.

There are a suite of optical and infrared imagers and spectrographs available for use:

  • NEID: The newest instrument available on WIYN is NEID (rhymes with “fluid”), a high precision radial velocity echelle spectrometer. (3800-9300Å; R~60,000-110,000; V~3.5-16). This instrument is shared with NASA/NOIRLab and available nights are reduced compared to other instruments. NEID is Queue Only. Additional information is here
  • One-Degree Imager (ODI): 1x1deg^2 optical imager (0.11 asec/pix) with optical filters u’ g’ r’ i’ z’ NB422 NB695 NB746 Halpha (many moves of filters each night is **not** encouraged). Additional information is here
  • NESSI: The NN-Explore Exoplanet Stellar Speckle Imager utilizes two CCD cameras to simultaneously capture speckle images in two channels split by a dichroic at 686.4nm, providing resolutions at or near the diffraction limit of the telescope (19x19arcsec; 0.018arcsec/pix). Filters; u’ g’ r’ i’ z’ NB467 NB562 NB716 NB832. Nb. can be operated in a wide-field mode (83x83arcsec; 0.081arcsec/pix). Queue only. Additional information is here
  • Hydra: recently upgraded ~83-90 fiber-fed multi-object spectrograph (MOS)  (60 arcmin diameter) that feeds the bench spectrograph. The bench spectrograph has a potential wavelength range of 3000A—1.1um. More information on Hydra is here.
  • HexPak/GradPak/SparsePak: Three ~40x40 arcsec fiber-fed Integral Field Units that feed the bench spectrograph. HexPak/GradPak/SparsePak each have different configuration options for the fibers in the IFU.
  • WHIRC: WIYN High-resolution Infrared Camera has a 202 x 202 arcsecs FOV with 0.1 arcsec/pixel resolution. Filters: J H K and many NBs (1.0—2.5um). Additional information is here

Useful Proposal and Observing Tools:

Applying for Time with Magellan or WIYN

There will be two calls for proposals for each year (with due dates in October and March each year). The timing of the Magellan and WIYN proposals will be similar, but the application processes are different (see Magellan Application and WIYN Application sections below). The proposals will be reviewed and ranked by Michael Strauss and Andy Goulding. Outcomes of the rankings and potential allocations will be distributed by email. After this, we work with our Michigan and WIYN colleagues to incorporate our department's proposals into the overall Magellan and WIYN schedules, and distribute observing dates accordingly.

Magellan Applications: Proposals should be written in LaTeX and submitted in PDF form; a proposal template and a corresponding style file can be found at Proposal PDFs are submitted via email to Andy Goulding ([email protected]). Magellan proposals should contain 1-2 page descriptions of the science case, ~1 page descriptions of the technical justification and feasibility, and ~1 page target table and observabilities during the semester dates.

WIYN Applications: proposals are submitted through the external NOIRLab proposal system ( Anyone wishing to submit a proposal will be required to first have (or register for) an account with NOIRLab. This PDF provides a lot of information on the process for submitting proposals through the NOIRLab system. NOIRLab requires that proposals for WIYN consist of 3 main portions:

  • Scientific Justification document (template available here).  In practice, this should be written with a similar level of detail as for the Princeton Magellan proposal.  
  • Team Expertise document (template available here)
  • Instrument and Target Information including target list, configuration, nights requested, lunar phase, scheduling constraints, brief science summary and (for NEID only) target priorities. 

Need more help?

If you have questions regarding proposals, instrument availability, observing process or overall comments, please send these to Andy ([email protected]).