Fast Turnaround presentation at the AAS meeting

The Fast Turnaround proposal mode was presented at this years winter AAS meeting. The poster included discussions on oversubscription rates recent publication rates.
The poster is included in this post.

FT_AAS_2017

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Update on use of the fast turnaround program

The basic application statistics and completion rates for fast turnaround programs have been compiled.

The program has in general been oversubscribed during the last year with usage varying been participants relative to the time available to each partner.

For several partners the requested time is similar to the time allocated for FT. However, since the allocated time includes all weather conditions and most programs request good or average conditions the requested time for those conditions are higher than the allocated time. We encourage the partners requesting relatively little time to apply for FT time.

With the exception of University of Hawaii the typical awarded time relative to requested time is 50%. This is mostly ‘bimodal’ in that typically programs get all requested time or none due to oversubscription and/or a grade below the cutoff of 2.

The completion rate for approved programs is in general very good. Some programs are not started. This can include targets of opportunity that did not have a suitable target or time critical observations where the weather did not collaborate. However, for the programs that did get started (the large majority) most were fully or almost fully completed.

 

 

 

 

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December fast turnaround

The Fast Turnaround program was again popular with several good proposals unfortunately not getting time. We note in general that many programs request good conditions and encourage the PIs to consider if the same science can be reached in slightly worse conditions.
Potential PIs should be aware that GMOS-N is off the telescope for most of March and that this also means that GRACES will not be offered.

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September Fast Turnaround

A total of 15 proposals was submitted in response to the September call. It was a very competitive month with good proposals not being awarded time due to the pressure. Science topics covered of the proposals spanned very wide from Solar system and planetary proposals over star formation to cosmology.

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August Fast Turnaround

We are pleased to announce that from the September call for proposals onward Rapid Target of Opportunity proposals are also accepted as Fast Turnaround programs. This allows for observations to be performed either immediately or the same night as the trigger is made.

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June Fast Turnaround

The June call for proposal saw a total response of 17 proposals.
Although Gemini North has been doing good progress the last months Gemini South has been severely affected by bad weather compromising normal queue programs, guest observers as well as FT programs. We have therefore finished fewer FT programs for GS than we would have liked. A consequence is that we will change the Right Ascension range for programs in the July proposals to avoid targets only observable at the beginning of the night in August.

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May Fast Turnaround

In total 16 proposals were received for the May round of the Fast Turnaround, eight for each site. We are pleased to see the continued interest in the Fast Turnaround program.

As we are approaching the end of the semester, different Gemini partners are approaching the maximum amount of time that has been allocated (10% of total partner time). Please take this into consideration for proposals submitted. The following partners have less than 5 hours remaining: Argentina (Gemini North and South), Brazil (Gemini South), and Chile (Gemini South).

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February Fast Turnaround

The February Fast Turnaround call was received a total of 16 proposal, 7 for the North and 9 for the South. We were pleased to see several proposals for GPI this time as well as the first proposal using masks for GMOS. MOS is supported as long as no pre imaging is necessary.

Please note that the eligibility for FT time has been updated and specified. See the details at http://www.gemini.edu/sciops/observing-gemini/observing-modes/fast-turnaround/rules . Starting from May Japanese PIs can apply for FT time.

 

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January Fast Turnaround

The first FT call for proposals in 2016 received a total of 15 proposals, 10 for GN and 5 for GS. Both telescopes were oversubscribed. Out of the five GS proposals, four were for Flamingos 2. We are very pleased to see the increasing interest in GS FT time.

FT has now been available for GS for 4 months and the first 3-months block of observations has ended. The weather has been very good in this period and all programs were completed. We look forward seeing interesting science results from the observations.

Several proposals have taken advantage of the possibility for students to be part of the review process under the mentoring of the supervisor. This is a possibility to early on in the career see how this work and we encourage its use for the FT proposals.

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December statistics, and some interesting behaviour

First, after a couple of months of very healthy demand, we only received a handful of FT proposals at the December deadline: 4 for Gemini North, and 1 for Gemini South. The Gemini South proposal reached the minimum score and had no technical problems, so it was awarded time. We hope the PI thinks this is a good reward for investing time in proposal writing rather than in mince pies and Christmas pudding.

We were also very interested to see an instance of questionable reviewing during this proposal cycle. The FT support team has access to everyone’s grades and reviews, and we do watch for out-of-the-ordinary behaviour (while, of course, maintaining strict confidentiality). This time, one of the reviewers gave all the other proposals very low grades, which was inconsistent with the other reviewers’ opinions, this reviewer’s very brief written comments, and the reviewer’s own behaviour when taking part in previous cycles. While not necessarily indicating unethical intent, the reviewer’s grades and reviews were of enough concern that they were removed from the final results. The reviewer has been made aware of the situation.

Only FT proposals which exceed a minimum score are ever given time. In a cycle in which demand is strong, even some programs above the line don’t get time. In those circumstances unethical grading might (just) pay off; that’s why we watch out for this. Perhaps ironically, this cycle was not heavily loaded enough for it to make a difference, intentional or not.

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