Proposals: Phase I

Please check our home page for the next phase I deadline. 

Proposing to observe with SALT is a three step process:

  1. Read the latest call for proposals document,
  2. Take note of the time allocation criteria,
  3. Complete the science case template,
  4. Create, fill in and submit a proposal with the PIPT before the above deadline.

SALT program guidelines

SALT is operated as a queue-scheduled telescope to efficiently make use of all available observing time. Dedicated SALT Astronomers observe several programs each night on behalf of principal investigators, matching the changing observing conditions to the needs of each individual program.

SALT is ideally suited to programs that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Sutherland sky is dark (V = 22.0 mag at zenith during solar minimum).   Diffuse target spectroscopy is very competitive with SALT’s large collecting power.
  • Targets well above the sky background can also be observed very efficiently with either high time or spectral resolution.
  • Queue scheduling is ideal for programs where the targets are distributed over a wide range of sky coordinates.
  • SALT is capable of changing modes and instruments on-the-fly in less than a minute making multi-configuration or multi-instrument programs easy.  All instruments are available at any given time.
  • The articulated design of RSS allows for many custom wavelength ranges to be observed at a variety of resolutions very flexibly.  The near-infrared upgrade will extend RSS capability to 1.7 microns.
  • Astronomical targets that have sky surface densities well matched to the 8 arcminute field of view are ideal for multi-object spectroscopy mode.
  • Time variability studies on time scales of less than a few hours, or greater than a day, are ideal.
  • The maximum continuous observation window varies from ~50 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the Declination of the target.  The most efficient Declinations are at < -60 deg where 2h and more are available continuously.  Equatorial regions also provide long convenient visibilities per night, but the continuous exposure time is restricted to less than an hour.
    • The visibility tool allows you to check what windows are available for your target.
  • SALT is used most efficiently in programs where sub-arcsecond seeing and high spatial resolution is not required.
    • See the call for proposals document for a discussion of how the seeing in the focal plane is determined and influenced by telescope design.
    • The looser your seeing conditions are, the better chance you have of any observations taken in the queue.
  • Differential photometry and relative spectrophotometry are routine with SALT. However, due to the time-variable pupil geometry, accurate absolute photometry or spectrophotometry difficult. See the call for proposals document for more details.