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 here.

  • 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. Note the new option for service observing for short programs, with a restricted set of configurations.
  • The policy for Targets of Opportunity (ToO) is defined in this document (revised March 2018 and effective semester 2018B). Until recently the demand for ToO observations has been modest, but we expect this to change. Our policy may continue to evolve as well. Note that the half-night limit does not apply to targets of opportunity, which normally are for shorter periods.
  • NEW! Some participating partners are also offering a limited amount of service observing time for small program. Access is through the individual partners. A complete description of the rules is provided here. As of March 2, both NOAO and Brazil intend to participate.
  • 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 2018B Call for Proposals
Proposal Deadline:  midnight (MST) April 2, 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.