CFHT Observation Proposals


The 2019A Call for proposal is now closed.

The call for the 2019B proposals will open around Feb 21 2019. Stay tuned!

CFHT adapted the Northstar Phase 1 tool written initially for the Radionet community. Northstar has been ported to CFHT and modified in house to handle our specific requirements. You can access the CFHT Phase 1 tool here during the call for proposals period or if you are interested in submitting a Director Discretionary time proposal.



Information on 2019A      [1 Feb 2019 - 31 Jul 2019]
Delay in reporting observation's metadata.
Gender neutrality of Canadian proposals.
SNR-QSO mode.
ETC values into PH1 proposal.
Snapshot programs.
WIRCam staring mode.
More details on Large Programs.

SPIRou's availability in 2019A.

SPIRou is offered for the first time to PI in 2019A, even though its final performance has not been characterized yet. PI can use the spectroscopic mode without restrictions. Polarimetric and high precision radial velocity measurements are offered in shared risk in 19A. Proposers should be aware that the instrument performance may change over time and this will affect the feasibility of proposals.

Some targets are reserved for the SPIRou Legacy Survey and cannot be accessed by the NRC or CNRS PIs. The list can be found here. Please make sure that your proposal does not include those targets. Duplicate targets with those of the SLS will be rejected. Also, please note that CFHT looks for duplicate targets and science goals for all proposals on all instruments and for all the agencies. If conflicts are found, PIs will be notified.

The exposure times for SPIRou can be calculated from the official SPIRou exposure time calculator. The transmission curve of the instrument used in this calculator is based on measurements as obtained in August 2018 and could change in the coming months with the replacement of some optical elements.

Please monitor the SPIRou early performance web page. It will be updated as we know more about the instrument.

Also, please consult the SPIRou proposal cookbook to learn about what is relevant to put in a SPIRou proposal.

The r-band portion of the CFIS Large Program requests IQ<0.8" and grey skies, whereas the u-band portion requests IQ<1" and dark skies. The VESTIGE Large Program requests IQ<1.2" and grey skies. PI programs targeting similar RA and at the same time requesting similar sky conditions will get into conflict with the Large Programs, decreasing the chance of getting observed.

Delays in reporting your observation's metadata.

In Recommendation 4 of the November 2017 meeting, SAC recommended that PIs have the option of requesting a delay in the reporting of the metadata with appropriate justification in their proposals. This can be done via Northstar by checking Yes to the Exception to the Community/World proprietary periods and metadata release in the Observing request tab and writing your justification in the box that appears. The metadata includes the name and coordinates of the targets. Unless the release date for the metadata is extended, they will become available immediately at CFHT and CADC.

Gender neutrality of Canadians proposals.

For Canadian proposals, any information that leads to the knowledge of the name of the investigators will be withheld from the proposals sent to the Canadian TAC in order to avoid gender bias issues. Please note that previewing the PDF file of the proposal in Northstar will render an incomplete proposal, with the information removed. However, please be assured that all the data provided when you enter your proposal is available from the Northstar database.

SNR-QSO mode.

SNR-QSO is now the default mode for MegaCam and ESPaDOnS and PIs who want to opt-out of this mode must justify it in their proposal. SAC recommendation #6 of the May 2016 report states: SNR-QSO should become the default mode for MegaCam and ESPaDOnS starting 2017A. Program requesting classical mode should justify their request.

For more information about the SNR-QSO mode, please see the SNR-QSO web page.

Other references to the SNR-QSO mode:
  • SPIE 2016 paper, Devost et al.
  • SF2A paper on Espadons by Moutou et al., section 2 covers SNR-QSO
  • ADASS 2013 paper, Cuillandre et al.
  • ETC values into PH1 proposal.

    The PH1 system has been changed to have users include the values of the exposure time calculators into their proposals. Proposals cannot be submitted if this field is not filled. This is not counted toward the page charge. Please include at least a representative set of ETC calculations with your proposal.

    Snapshot programs

    All agencies are invited to encourage their community to submit snapshot programs. These programs must be able to accept an Image Quality worse than 1.2" or significant levels of extinction. Snapshot programs are used not only during bad weather conditions but also to fill gaps in the queues when no A, B or C program are available or suitable. Snapshot programs are not counted toward an agency's allocation.

    WIRCam staring mode.

    For investigators interested in using the staring mode with WIRCam, please be advised that systematics may be present that limit the achievable accuracy using differential photometry. RMS values <= 0.1% are possible but reaching 0.01% is challenging. See Croll et al (2015) and Martioli et al (2017) for details. Also, experiments switching back and forth between two filters should be considered risky.

    More details on Large Programs.

    In 2019A, CFHT will be executing the 2017A-2019B Large Programs as well as the 2018B-2022A Large programs.

    CFHT will flag any proposal which has conflicts in RA and observing conditions with an existing LP. For information about the relative priority of PI programs and Large programs, please see the recommendation from the SAC (Nov. 2009).

    Information on previous semesters
    If you wonder about the pressure on telescope time, the relative requests on the main instruments, you can have a look at some graphs for past rounds of proposals here.


    Good luck and clear skies!