Research time on the 1.8 m and 1.2 m telescopes is available to qualified scientists and their students. Applicants are invited to use these facilities for both short-term and ongoing research projects; thesis projects are especially welcome. Observations can be conducted by a member of the proposing team. However, the 1.2 m telescope and spectrograph are capable of robotic operation, as is the imaging camera on the 1.8 m telescope. Currently about 70% of the observing time on both telescopes is executed in this manner. The guest investigator is expected to acknowledge the NRC on the title page of any publication that results from data taken with the DAO telescopes.
Assignment of observing time is by an allocation committee comprised of NRC staff and non-staff members. Apart from technical considerations such as the suitability of the equipment to the proposed program, the availability of the object(s) during the period requested, etc., the sole criterion used is scientific merit.
The telescopes are scheduled by calendar quarters. Applications must be submitted at least one month prior to each quarter in which you wish to be allocated telescope time, that is December 1, March 1, June 1 and September 1 for the quarters commencing January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1, respectively. Applicants will be informed of the outcome by the middle of the month preceding the calendar quarter (i.e., by the 15th of December, March, June or September, respectively). Every attempt is made to keep the process "user friendly", as well as scientifically effective.
Although no policy limits the amount of telescope time allocated to either staff or visiting workers, in recent years visitor use of the telescopes has consistently exceeded 70% of the available time and that will continue.