Hale/P200 Telescope — Large Project Policy

Executive Summary

Hale/P200 Telescope Large Project proposals are invited from Caltech proposers. P200 Large Projects typically use significant numbers of telescope nights and span multiple semesters up to a maximum of four consecutive semesters (or six semesters with intermediate project breaks). Once approved, additional time allocations are contingent on demonstrated project progress; P200 Large Projects shall submit intermediate reports on project progress in all semesters when additional allocations are requested. These progress reports have reduced reporting requirements relative to new project applications.


The Director of Caltech Optical Observatories and the Observatory Council encourage ambitious and high-impact observing projects by individuals or teams of researchers within the Caltech astronomy community by supporting the Large Projects program at the Palomar 200-inch (P200) telescope. Large Projects, in this context, are designed to use COO's ability to make significant, continuing (contingent on demonstrated progress -- see below) allocation of P200 observing time to address problems that would otherwise be difficult within the constraints of normal semi-annual allocations. At a minimum, the proposed scale of a Large Project should correspond to the equivalent of at least 10 nights of observing time per semester for up to four semesters (or a smaller number of nights for longer duration), not necessary contiguous but within two to three years, to complete. In no cases will Large Project status be granted to a single project for more than three years.

Large Projects are expected to be of sufficient scope and potential scientific impact to justify a significant investment of P200 resources. Further, Large Projects are expected to contribute to the scientific legacy and public profile of the Palomar Observatory, and the proposals must specifically address these two points in the proposals narrative.

Initial Large Project Proposal

The initial proposal for a Large Project, to be submitted as part of the normal telescope time allocation cycle, consists of (a) a Hale/P200 Telescope proposal cover sheet [see COO Solicitations], (b) the narrative, (c) figures, illustrations and tables, and (d) the target list as described below.


Palomar Large Project initial proposals and/or updates may not be combined with Keck proposals, but must instead be a separate proposal submission.

  • The Cover Sheet - Fill in the standard P200 cover sheet in the usual manner, being sure to check the box indicating Large Project
  • The Narrative - (Page limit = 8 pages of text, 11- or 12-point text. 1 page = one side of an 8½ × 11 sheet, with standard margins.)
    1. Provide the scientific justification of the program, including the scientific issues to be addressed, how the project will accomplish these objectives, and clearly indicate the total expected observing time scope and project duration (not to exceed three years). Include references to publications cited in the discussion.
    2. Describe the observing strategy and data processing to be employed. Include key benchmarks covering the duration of the project against which progress may be gauged over it's duration.
    3. Describe the anticipated scientific legacy of the project. This section shall be, at most, one page in length.
    4. Discuss the contributions the project will make to the the Palomar Observatory's on-going Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program. These contributions can be intellectual (e.g. museum display materials, public presentations) and/or financial. This section shall be, at most, one page in length.
  • Figures, Illustrations and Tables - (maximum of 4 pages. This section should include figures, tables and graphs in support of the proposal. N.B. The copies of the proposal distributed to the TAC will be printed in black-and-white but the members of the committee will be able to view color illustrations by accessing the on-line archive of proposals.
  • Object List - Provide of list of object to be observed during the current semester. At a minimum, give the name, coordinates and magnitude (specify band) for each object.

Status Updates

Following an initial status approval, allocation of observing time for continuing Large Projects in each additional semester is contingent upon the demonstration of satisfactory progress toward the goals of the project, as determined by the COO Director. Director-approved Large Project status in one semester does not guarantee future time allocations in subsequent semesters.

In subsequent semesters when observing time is requested, the project PI shall submit a progress update to the Large Project proposal, including a cover sheet with the current semester time request and a status report (in place of the narrative) (up to 3 pages) summarizing the work completed (including the status of the data analysis), comparing the progress of the project to its planned benchmarks and reviewing the work yet to be accomplished. The scientific justification, legacy aspects and EPO aspects of the program need not be revisited.

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P200 Large Project Page / v 0.8.4
Last updated: 11 February 2022 JXZ/AFB/RJB