Gemini - Canadian - Specific information for phase I – 2020A



A call for proposals for Semester 2020A (February 01, 2020 to July 31, 2020) has been issued by the Gemini Observatory. The Call for Proposals can be viewed at: Call for Proposals

The deadline for the receipt of Canadian proposals is:

Tuesday, October 1, 2019, 4 pm (Pacific Daylight Time)

Note that not all Gemini partners have the same deadline and those involved in joint proposals need to submit their proposals by the principal investigator's (PI) country's deadline.

Canada will have access in 2020A to a total time for PI programs of: 190 hours on Gemini North and 215.1 hours (!) on Gemini South. This is a record number of hours in the South and is due to the end of the GPI campaign, and less Large Programs running in the South. It is time to be ambitious especially for your South programs! Please consider submitting programs with relaxed observing conditions too, even if they will take longer to execute to get to the same S/N.


The instruments available on Gemini-North are GMOS-N, GNIRS, NIRI (imaging only), NIFS, and Altair (with NGS and LGS now); and on Gemini-South are GMOS-S, Flamingos-2 (in imaging and longslit mode only), GSAOI with GeMs, and GPI. Please consult the target accessibility page for important information concerning the RA (right ascension) restrictions for each instrument. Many visitor instruments are also offered in 2020A (subject to demand). On Gemini-North: GRACES, ALOPEKE (new Speckle camera providing both diffraction limited and wide-field imaging), and POLISH-2 (high precision polarimeter) . On Gemini-South: Zorro (a clone of 'Alopeke), and the popular IGRINS (high-resolution near-IR echelle spectrograph).

To see more details about each of the instruments available for 2020A, please see the Gemini
Call for Proposals.

What's new in 2020A

  • Targets will generally be limited on Gemini-North to 4 < RA < 1 and -37 < dec < +90, and on Gemini-South to 5 < RA < 2 and -90 < dec < +28. Please consult the target accessibility page for specific RA restrictions for some instruments;
  • The Gemini-North Laser Guide Star AO system is now available for regular programs in 2020A!. It can be used with NIFS, NIRI and GNIRS.
  • It is expected that at least 2 GSAOI/GeMs blocks of ~7 nights will be scheduled in the second part of the 2020A semester. Assuming a successful commissioning, the new NGS2 natural guide star system will be offered.
  • • Flamingos-2 MOS commissioning is not yet completed but it is expected to be offered as part of the Fast Turnaround Program during the semester.
  • Visitor Instruments offered on Gemini-North are:
    • GRACES, the high-resolution R=67500 optical spectrometer;
    • POLISH-2, a high-precision polarimeter is open to the community via collaborative proposals with its PI; please use the generic 'Visitor Instrument' option in PIT for your proposal.
    • 'ALOPEKE, a new-generation Speckle camera. This is a dual-channel, fast-readout visual camera providing both diffraction-limited and wide-field imaging;
  • Visitor Instruments offered on Gemini-South are:
    • Zorro, an 'Alopeke clone
    • IGRINS, a high-resolution R=45000 near-ir (1.45 to 2.5 microns) echelle spectrometer.
  • There will be a minimum of 5 classical nights available on Subaru. The instruments available are: COMICS, AO188, FOCAS, HDS, IRCS, MOIRCS, and Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC). Subaru will accept small-size programs (e.g. 2-3 hours) for proposals requesting HSC in queue mode only. Canadians can now also submit proposals for HSC "filler" programs on Subaru in 2020A, which are poor weather queue programs. The following visiting instruments are also available for 2020A: SCExAO including the VAMPIRES module, CHARIS, and now IRD-Infrared Doppler, an infrared, high-resolution (up to 70000) fiber-fed spectrometer (as long as the targets are different from the approved SSP program). Proposals using the visiting instruments must include the relevant PI as a Co-I. Proposals must request half-nights or full nights (except short HSC queue programs).
  • New: the PIT will automatically calculate the required time for baseline calibrations and add it to the time request. Just enter for each target the on-source exposure time needed WITH overheads (acquisition time, readout time, etc.) for each target that you get from the ITC, and PIT will calculate the total time needed for the target.
  • Note that because Gemini wishes to produce gender statistics to measure and monitor gender equality across the submitted and successful proposals, you are kindly asked to fill the gender field in the investigator details section of PIT. This information will not be transmitted to CanTAC, CanTAC members only see an alphabetical list of all investigators (PI and co-Is).
  • Warning: when submitting your proposal, you should see in the PIT "Submit" tab the status updated to "Successfully Received", and see a reference number for the proposal, such as "CA-2020A-003". If you do not see this reference number then the proposal might not have been received, and you are advised to please check with us at

Other things to note for 2020A

  • The Priority Visitor Mode is now expanded and will be offered to Band 1 programs (not only Large and Long Programs). Important: Please indicate your interest in the Technical Design portion of the proposal;
  • All proposals for Rapid Target of Opportunity (RToO) follow-up must submit a separate proposal for Standard Target of Opportunity follow-up (SToO) in conditions better than SB/CC/IQ=Any, if such follow-up is planned;
  • Poor weather and Director's Discretionary Time proposals can now be submitted at any time via PIT directly to Gemini (bypassing the Canadian Time allocation Committee (CTAC)). Fast Turnaround proposals can be submitted at all times with a deadline at the end of every month.


Canadian astronomers must use the Gemini Observatory Phase I Tool (PIT) to prepare and submit their proposals. The new version of PIT for Semester 2020A must be downloaded from the PIT installation site.

A new "Experimental Design" section has been added to give more space to the proposal description. The science justification, experimental design and technical justification are now to be entered in a latex file (or doc file if using the Windows version of PIT). Also the PIs are now strongly encouraged to include the output from the Instrument Time Calculators in the PDF. See the PIT page to download the new PIT. Please download the latex/doc/sty template files to write the proposal.

For Canadian proposals, please use the default GemPhase1.tex, GemPhase1_20A.sty and GemPhase1.doc template files. Please allow extra time to familiarize yourself with the new PIT, and consult the help pages for the new PIT, which includes video tutorials.

In addition, please note that with the new PIT, a single proposal may now request time from either or both of Gemini-North and Gemini-South (it is no longer necessary to submit 2 separate proposals, however please indicate in the technical section how much time exactly is requested from each of Gemini-North and South)

Users will submit their finalized proposals from PIT; the proposals are sent electronically to Gemini and then retrieved by the Canadian Gemini Office (CGO). The CGO will be in charge of the technical assessment of the proposals, which will then be reviewed and ranked by CTAC.

All data will be subject to the normal Gemini proprietary period of 12 months.

Proposal parameters

Please follow the instructions in the latex/doc files:

  • Scientific justification: one page (excluding references, see below).
  • Experimental design: one page
  • Technical justification: one page
  • Up to 2 extra pages for references, a maximum of 3 figures, and figure captions