CFHT Call for Proposals


The call for the 2019B proposals is now closed.

The 2020A call for proposals will open around August 21st 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 2019B      [1 Aug 2019 - 31 Jan 2020]
Observing window constrains
Estimated time allocations
Approximate RA pressure from Large Programs.
Approximate availibility of bright and dark time.
Large Programs Completion Policy
SPIRou notes
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.

Observing window constrains.

Programs that require targets within an observing window (for example transits) on any instrument must upload a csv file containing a complete list of their targets and the observing parameters. Targets can be uploaded from the Observing window upload form. Please keep in mind that SPIRou is a bright time instrument and windowed observations happening when the moon is less than 50% are less likely to be observed.

If you use this form to upload your target list, you do not need to fill the targets table or the "Scheduling constrains" in Northstar. All other types of time constrains (Monitoring, Moon phases, etc...) can be given to us via the "Scheduling constrain" text box in Northstar.

Estimated time allocations

The 2019B share of observing time is not firmly established yet. This allocation assumes that the associate partners, China and Taiwan, use all their available nights.

  • Canada: A minimum of 24 nights (outside the Large Programs)
  • France and Opticon: A minimum of 17 nights (outside the Large Programs) for the CNRS PIs.
  • University of Hawaii: A minimum of 16 nights (outside the Large Programs).
  • Taiwan: Up to 10 nights.
  • China: Up to 15 nights.

Approximate RA pressure from Large Programs.

During the semester 2019B, the 2017A - 2019B and 2018B - 2022A Large Programs will be using the RA ranges in the table below.

Approximate availibility of bright and dark nights.

During the 2019B semester, PI programs have access to 43 dark nights available with the Moon illumination less or equal to 50%, and 42 bright nights when the Moon illumination is greater than 50%. The dark time is split between MegaCam and SITELLE and the bright time between ESPaDOnS, WIRCam and SPIRou. The 43 nights of dark time available to PIs corresponds to approximately 258h of validated time and the 42 nights of bright time correspond to approximatively 273h of validated time.

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.

Large Programs Completion Policy

The CFHT Board of Directors adopted a recommendation from the SAC about the completion of the Large Programs. The detailed policy can be found here.

SPIRou notes

  • Some targets are reserved for the SPIRou Legacy Survey and cannot be accessed by other programs with the same science as the SLS. The list of the SLS targets can be found here. Please make sure that your proposal does not include those targets. Duplicate targets with those of the SLS have to have science goals outside of those of the SLS. You can find a description of the SLS science goals and strategies on the CFHT Large Programs page.

  • The overheads of the instrument are now 28s per exposure in spectral mode and 35s per exposure for polar sequences. Please seen the QSO page for more details.

  • If your targets can either be observed with SPIRou or ESPaDOnS, please make sure you make a note of it in your Technical Justification.

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!