Proposing for SOAR

 There are different channels through which to apply for time on SOAR (see table). There are a few observatory-wide policies, linked below. Please also see the Remote Observer's Guide if you are considering remote observing for your program. A good starting point in matching capabilities to your needs is the instrument summary page.

  • In general, the minimum unit of time that SOAR schedules is 1/2 night. Be aware that it may be difficult to find another proposal to use the other halves of such nights. SOAR policy is to avoid splitting nights between consortium partners unless there are matching half-night requests. Also, it is not possible to change detectors, gratings or filters in the middle of the night, so if you want an unusual configuration it may be impossible to schedule half nights for your proposal.
  • The policy for Targets of Opportunity (ToO) was revised August 2018 and effective semester 2019A and 2019B. Until recently the demand for ToO observations has been modest, but we are seeing a substantial increase in proposals. Our policy will likely continue to evolve as well. Anyone who wants to propose a ToO program for SOAR should review the policy before applying for time.
  • Due to lack of interest, we are discontinuing service observing for short observations. We may reinstate this capability if there appears to be real demand for it.
  • The policy on Visitor Instruments is specified in the SOAR RUI Policy (approved Dec. 10, 2015). You should always contact the observatory before proposing to bring a visitor instrument for the first time.

The alternatives for applying for time are listed below:

1. If you are an astronomer not based in a Brazilian or Chilean institution, nor at the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill or Michigan State University, then you need to apply to the open-access time through the NOAO time allocation process, which takes place twice per year. Deadlines are the last Thursday in September for the following “A” semester (Feb 1 – Jul 31) and the last Thursday in March for the following “B” semester (Aug 1 – Jan 31). Survey programs for SOAR are accepted annually (as for other facilities offered through NOAO open-access time) or when sufficient time is available for new programs, and investigators must submit a letter of intent to propose in advance.
NOAO Open Access Time 2019A Call for Proposals
Proposal Deadline:  midnight (MST) Sept 28, 2018

For more information go the NOAO Proposal web page at

2. If you are an astronomer based at a Brazilian institution, then you can apply for time through the Brazil TAC. Information is available at the Laboratório Nacional de Astrofísica (LNA) Website.
3. If you are an astronomer based at the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill or at Michigan State University, you can apply for time through your institution's internal process.
4. If you are an astronomer based at a Chilean institution, you can apply through the Chilean TAC, which is charged with administering Chilean telescope time on SOAR, and many other facilities like LCO, CTIO, PROMPT, Mini-TAO, ASTE, NANTEN2, QUIET, ACT, and the National Telescopes at La Silla.