Cycle 8

New for SOFIA in Cycle 8

SOFIA Archival Research Program (SARP)

Important Documents

Call for Proposals (for regular proposals)
Call for Proposals for the SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP) and the SOFIA Archivial Research Program (SARP)
Observer's Handbook for Cycle 8
USPOT Manual
SLP & SARP Budget Template

In addition, the Proposal Documents page contains all necessary documentation and useful tools for submitting proposals. Complementary sky positions derived from Cycle 6 proposal data are available here.

Updates for Cycle 8

To stay up to dates with the latest programmatic updates, sign up for the e-Newsletter here.
Updates for Cycle 8
Date Update Details
5 September 2019 proposal submission extension offered for Hurricane Dorian victims Proposers directly affected by Hurricane Dorian may request a one-week extension of the deadline. Contact the Science Mission Operations director Dr. Harold Yorke with a brief, specific, explanation to request the extension.
8 August 2019 update to SOFIA Instrument Time Estimator (SITE)

An update to the observing overheads for FORCAST and HAWC+ used in the SOFIA Instrument Time Estimator (SITE) will be posted on, or about, August 8.  Proposers requesting these instruments should ensure that the submitted proposal use the updated calculations from SITE.

20 July 2019 formal Update to CfP and SLP CfP no updates required
9 July 2019 notification Note: Upon successful submission of a proposal, DCS will generate a confirmation email delivered to the user who submitted the proposal. If you do not receive this email within a few minutes, try submitting the proposal again. If you still do not receive the confirmation email, please contact the Help-Desk.
27 June 2019 update to CfP Minor correction to Section 1.1; no programmatic updates
10 June 2019 update to CfP and SLP CfP Modification to the maximum available solicited observing time for Regular and Legacy Proposals
31 May 2019 CfP and SLP CfP released original releases of two proposals: one for regular proposals and another for both Legacy proposals (SLP) and the new SOFIA Archival Research Proposals (SARP) proposals

Cycle 8 Calls for Proposals

Cycle 8 features two Calls for Proposals for three different types of proposal opportunities: one Call for regular programs, and a separate Call for both the SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP), and the new SOFIA Archival Research Program (SARP). Funding is available for Guest Observers with affiliations in the U.S.; the total available Guest Observer funding available for Cycle 8 is expected to be approximately $3M for regular proposals, $2M per year for SLP proposals, and $300k for SARP proposals. Thesis enabling proposals intended to enable and support PhD theses based on SOFIA data will be supported, with highly ranked proposals in this category eligible for up to two years of graduate student support.

The Calls were issued on behalf of NASA by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). Parallel calls for the German community was issues by the German SOFIA Institute (DSI; University of Stuttgart). There were no changes made in the formal update to the Call for Proposals, released on July 20, 2019. The deadline for submitting proposals was September 6, 2019, 21:00 PDT (September 7, 2019, 4:00 UTC).

Cycle 8 Calls for Proposals Specifications
  Regular Proposals Legacy (SLP) Archival (SARP)
Exclusive Use Period yes no n/a
Observing Period 1 cycle   n/a
Total Program Budget $3M $2M/yr $300k
Proposals Selected varies 1-4 10

Regular Proposals

Read the Call for Proposals (for regular proposals)

Approximately 300 hours of observations will be available with EXES, FIFI-LS, FORCAST, FPI+, GREAT, and HAWC+ .

There are two notable changes for the instrument suite with FORCAST and HAWC+:

Starting in Cycle 8, FORCAST will offer slit-scan mode, where the slit is moved across a target in discrete steps using dithers perpendicular to the slit axis to yield a spectroscopic map of an entire area of sky. FORCAST will also provide Level 4 data mosaicking to cover larger area than a single observation. The possibility of discontinuing the use of FORCAST after Cycle 8 is under consideration, contingent on proposal pressure and funding levels.

For HAWC+, the most efficient mode for total intensity observations (on-the-fly scanning, where the telescope moves continuously at rates of ~10–200 arcsec/second without chopping of the secondary mirror) will also be offered for polarimetry observations as shared-risk. In addition, the Band B 63 μm filter for HAWC+ is under commissioning during Cycle 7 and is available for shared risk observations during Cycle 8.

One Southern Hemisphere deployment to New Zealand is planned to take place sometime between June and August 2020 with two instruments (not counting FPI+, which is always mounted on SOFIA as the telescope’s primary tracking camera). The decision of which instruments will be selected for the Southern Deployment will be based on proposal pressure. The decision will be announced together with the Selection Announcement in December 2019. There is also a possibility of shorter-duration, single-instrument deployments (“Suitcase Deployments”) to support science observation of southern targets not available during the boreal summer deployment, or for other location critical observations, not possible for flights out of Palmdale.

SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP) Proposals 

Read the Call for Proposals SLP and SARP

The SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP) enables programs targeting a rich archival dataset of significant scientific value to the astronomical community for future analysis. These programs span two cycles of observations and are released without an exclusive use period for the data. Two SLPs were selected through the SLP call for Cycle 7: “Radiative and Mechanical Feedback in Regions of Massive Star Formation” (Co-PIs: Alexander G.G.M. Tielens, University of Maryland; Nicola Schneider, University of Cologne, Germany; Proposal ID 07_0077) and “Constraining Recent Star Formation in the Galactic Center” (PI: Matthew Hankins, Caltech; Proposal ID 07_0189). During Cycle 8, SOFIA will accept 1-4 proposals with each allocated up to ~200 hours of observing time (~ 100 hours of observations per cycle) and a total program budget of up to $2M per year.

SOFIA Archival Research Program (SARP) Proposals

Read the Call for Proposals SLP and SARP

New for Cycle 8 is the SOFIA Archival Research Program (SARP), which is included in the Legacy CfP. In this new program, SOFIA will accept up to 10 proposals for projects that utilize archival SOFIA data.

At present, the primary SOFIA data archive is the DCS Science Archive. However, SOFIA is beginning to transition to using the Infrared Science Archive (IRSA) hosted by the Infrared Processing & Analysis Center (IPAC) as its primary data archive. The first release of the SOFIA Archive at IRSA includes FIFI-LS, FORCAST, and GREAT data from Cycle 4 and Cycle 5, and is currently accessible online. By the end of 2019, the second archive release will expand the database to include SOFIA data from all instruments and all cycles.

In addition to the Data Handbooks, tutorials are available for common data analysis objectives using SOFIA processed data, written for a graduate student audience. In addition, data analysis tools are available for in-depth exploration of FIFI-LS and GREAT data cubes. PIs may apply for the SARP for use on their own prior SOFIA research but only after the full funding period (including all no-cost extensions) of the original observing program has expired.

Help with Submitting Proposals

On Friday, August 9, 2019, SOFIA Science on Tour concluded with a Proposal Tools Webinar, where participants were be led through guided examples with the chance to ask questions live while learning how to use SOFIA’s tools to submit proposals. Slides from the webinar and associated video tutorials are available on the Science on Tour webpage.

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