June 5, 2017, Formal Update to the Call
i) The HAWC+ sensitivities have been revised based on an analysis of data obtained. It is necessary to use DCS v3.4.2 of SITE to estimate exposure times for HAWC+ observations.
ii) USPOT v3.4.2 has been released to support this formal update and is required for Cycle 6 proposal preparation and submission. (It may be used to read in AORs prepared using earlier versions of USPOT.)
iii) FORCAST grism observations require the user to include acquisition AORs for each target. The FORCAST Acquisiton AOT is available in USPOT v3.4.2 but was not in earlier versions.
June 15, 2017, Clarification on Funding for Thesis Enabling Programs
Proposers have asked for clarification of the intended funding process for SOFIA Thesis Enabling Programs. While the detailed and final decisions are up to the SMO Director, we here provide some additional guidelines:
As noted in the Call for Proposals this proposal category is intended to provide predictable funding for a graduate student’s thesis work, when based in a substantial part on SOFIA data. To this end a highly ranked proposal in this category will be accepted into the “Priority 1” scheduling category, and will have the full (burdened) cost of the graduate student (at the local rate) released upon acceptance, with a second year’s funding contingent only on a review ensuring progress of the thesis work.
The detailed funding for each Thesis Enabling Program is the prerogative of the SMO Director, but to clarify we offer the following expansions:
- The funding for the student support is not in addition to the nominal ~$10k x observing time in hours.
- At the SMO director’s discretion, a larger funding rate per hour of observations may be applied to these programs. I.e. a well justified Thesis Enabling Proposal, requiring less observing time than what would nominally result in the cost of the local graduate student support, may qualify for the full student cost.
- Very large programs, above the time request equivalent to the funding required to cover the graduate student cost, are allowed and can be funded beyond the student support level. For such proposals, the proposal should clarify in section 5 of the proposal (“Thesis Enabling Programs”) the relationship between the thesis program (funding) and the additional labor/costs involved in the over-all program.
The SOFIA Cycle 6 Call for Proposals, released on May 1, 2017, solicits observing proposals using SOFIA from the US and International astronomical communities for approximately 500 hours of observing time. It has been issued on behalf of NASA by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA).
There will be a formal update to the Call for Proposals on June 5, 2017 that incorporates any changes based on information about the Observatory obtained after the initial release of the Call.
The deadline for submitting the Phase I proposals is June 30, 2017, 21:00 PDT.
The proposals will undergo a peer-review process, and the results will be announced in October 2017. The Cycle 6 observations will take place in the time period February 2, 2018 through February 1, 2019.
Contingent on the budget confirmation and NASA approval, approximately $5M will be available for funding Guest Observers based in the US. New for Cycle 6 is a proposal category aimed at supporting doctoral theses. Highly ranked proposals in this category will be eligible for up to two years of graduate student support.
A parallel German Cycle 6 proposal call will shortly be issued by the Deutsches SOFIA Institut (DSI) on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), offering approximately 75 hours of observing time to astronomers affiliated with German Institutions.