Cycle 9

Cycle 9 Calls for Proposals

Cycle 9 features two Calls for Proposals: one Call for regular programs, and a separate Call for the SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP). Formal updates to the Calls will be provided on July 17, 2020. Funding is expected to be available for Guest Observers with affiliations in the U.S.; the total available Guest Observer funding available for Cycle 9 is expected to be approximately $4M for regular proposals and $2M per year for SLP 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.

Cycle 9 is expected to last from July 6, 2021 to March 31, 2022. SOFIA plans to offer two Southern deployments: a long deployment from late July through mid-September 2021 offering GREAT and HAWC+, and a short deployment in March 2022 offering FIFI-LS. There is also a possibility of additional short-duration, single-instrument deployments.

The Calls are issued on behalf of NASA by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). Parallel calls for the German community are issued by the German SOFIA Institute (DSI; University of Stuttgart). The deadline for submitting proposals is September 4, 2020, 21:00 PDT (September 5, 2020, 4:00 UTC).

New for SOFIA in Cycle 9

  • Starting with Cycle 9, SOFIA is adopting a policy of 'two year' proposals: accepted regular proposals with priority 2 and 3 will stay active in Cycle 9 and Cycle 10. Priority 1 regular proposals and Legacy Proposals will continue to remain active until completed.
  • For Cycle 9, SOFIA is implementing dual-anonymous review. More details can be found here. Proposers should now upload two distinct pdfs in their proposals, and not identify themselves in the main body pdf file.
  • For Cycle 9, legacy proposals are invited to participate in a two-step process whereby pilot Cycle 9 observations will be performed prior to the decision on committing to a full legacy program.
  • The proprietary data period for Cycle 9 regular programs is six months rather than twelve.
  • Additional standard modes are offered: the new honeycomb OTF mapping mode for GREAT and the new total power mode on FIFI-LS.
  • The new FIFI-LS on-the-fly mapping mode and the 63 microns (Band B) for HAWC are offered as shared risk.
  • The two polarizations of the GREAT Low Frequency Array can now be set to two different frequencies to allow for simultaneous observations of two different lines.
  • Cycle 9 is potentially the last cycle in which FORCAST will be offered, depending on funding and proposal pressure.
  • Up to 20 hours will be reserved for programs supporting JWST  Early Release Science. The data will be released immediately to the community, without a proprietary period.
  • A joint proposal agreement with the Green Bank Observatory is now in place for Cycle 9

Regular Proposals (SRP)

Read the Call for proposals (for regular proposals)

Approximately 400 hours of observations will be available with EXES, FIFI-LS, FORCAST, FPI+, GREAT, and HAWC+. Data from accepted regular proposals is under proprietary period for a period of six (6) months after the calibrated data are released to the proposing team.

Legacy Proposals (SLP)

Read the Call for Proposals

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 data are released immediately to the community, without a proprietary period. During Cycle 9, SOFIA will accept up to four (4) proposals with each allocated up to ~200 hours of observing time (~ 100 hours of observations per cycle).

Note that proposals including observations with EXES, FIFI-LS, FORCAST, FPI+, GREAT, and HAWC+ are accepted, but note that Cycle 9 is potentially the last cycle in which FORCAST will be offered. Two SLPs were already selected through the SLP call for Cycle 7, and three SLPs were selected for Cycle 8.

Help with Submitting Proposals

Proposals are to be submitted through the USPOT tool. SOFIA's HelpDesk is open to answer any question and inquiry from the community: sofia_help@sofia.usra.edu. Information about the Dual Anonymous Review can be found here.

On August 19, a Proposal Tools Webinars will be held, where participants will learn how to use SOFIA’s tools to submit proposals through guided examples with the chance to ask questions live. More details will be announced on our workshops page and through our e-Newsletter, which can be signed up for here. Slides from the webinar and associated video tutorials from the 2019 Proposal Tool webinar are available here.

Important Documents

Call for Proposals (for regular proposals)
Call for Proposals for the SOFIA Legacy Program (SLP)
Observer's Handbook for Cycle 9
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 Cycles 4 and 5 proposals are available here (complementary positions were found to be consistent across observing cycles).

Updates for Cycle 9

To keep current with the latest programmatic updates, sign up for the e-Newsletter here.
List of Updates
Date Update Details
29 May 2020 CfP and SLP CfP released original releases of two calls: one for regular proposals and another for Legacy proposals (SLP)

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