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Proposal Process and Due Dates

McDonald Observatory and the Texas portion of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope are scheduled after peer-review by a Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC). The proposal process is conducted three times per year, covering periods of December - March (trimester 1), April - July (trimester 2) and August - November (trimester 3). Our goal is to publish the schedule 4 weeks prior to the start of each period, so proposals are due 2 months prior to the trimester start. The Mt. Locke and HET proposal due dates are staggered by 1 week.

The general due dates are:
  Mt. Locke
 Trimester 1
  September 30
  October 7
 Trimester 2
  January 31
  February 7
 Trimester 3
  May 31
  June 7

If any of these dates occur on a weekend or University holiday, the proposals are due on the next business day. Proposals are due at 8am on the day of the deadline and NO late proposals are accepted. Details specific to each trimester will be emailed to normal users about 2 weeks prior to the deadline.

NOTE: We acknowledge all proposals via a separate email within a few days of the deadline (this is different from the software indicating the proposal has been submitted). If you do not receive this acknowledgement within a week, please email to anita at astro dot as dot utexas dot edu, or jimum at astro dot as dot utexas dot edu, and inquire.

Each applicant provides a scientific proposal justifying the telescope time and providing information necessary to schedule the telescope (requested dates, lunar phase, instrument, etc).

Schedules will be published on the observatory web site at and posted in a variety of places. Amendments to schedules will be announced and the on-line schedules will be updated throughout the trimester. Be sure to check the web site for a current schedule.

Proposal Formats

Proposals for the telescopes on Mt. Locke are accepted for the 2.7m, 2.1m and 0.8m telescopes. The 0.9m telescope is not currently scheduled via the TAC process. Proposals are submitted via the web, with the proposal forms at Accounts on this system are user assignable.

Proposals for the HET are submitted via the web, with the proposal forms at Accounts on the system are user assignable. Proposers for the UT share of the HET must have a UT Austin or Texas A&M Principal Investigator.

Other Important Information

The Principal Investigator on McDonald proposals is responsible for successful accomplishment of the observing, for the presence of a competent observer at the telescope, for coordinating with the mountain staff in order to prepare for the observing, and for making travel arrangements for the observer(s). The institutional affiliation of the PI determines whether the telescope time is counted as UT Austin or as Director's Discretionary time. ALL observers (UT and other) must file a request for services at least 3 weeks prior to their observing runs. Please use the RTA/RFS web form to submit a request for services.

Publication credits

All McDonald Observers are required to include in all published papers which use McDonald Observatory data a footnote: "This paper includes data taken at The McDonald Observatory of The University of Texas at Austin".

A listing of available instrumentation and links to their descriptions can be found on the web site.


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4 February 2013
McDonald Observatory · The University of Texas at Austin · Austin, Texas 78712
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