Palomar Observatory

Keck Observatory

Caltech Optical Observatories

Caltech Astronomy

California Institute of Technology

200-inch Telescope - Large Projects

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 and long-term commitments of P200 observing time to address problems that would otherwise be difficult within the constraints of normal semi-annual allocations. At a minimum, Large Projects should require at least twelve nights of observing time per semester for up to four semesters, not necessary contiguous but within two years, to complete.

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.


The initial proposal for a Large Projects, to be submitted as part of the normal time allocation process, consists of (a) a Palomar proposal cover sheet [see COO Solicitations], (b) the narrative, (c) figures, illustrations and tables, and (d) the target list.

  • The Cover Sheet - Fill in the standard Palomar Observatory proposal 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 x 11 sheet, with standard margins.)

    • Provide the scientific justification of the program, including the scientific issues to be addressed and how the project will achieve those ends. Include references to publications cited in the discussion.
    • 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.
    • Describe the anticipated scientific legacy of the project. This section shall be, at most, one page in length.
    • 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.

Observing time for continuing Large Projects in each semester is contingent upon the demonstration of satisfactory progress toward the goals of the project, as determined by the COO Director and the chair of the TAC. Continuing projects will not be reviewed by the full TAC.

In semesters subsequent to the initial allocation, submit a reduced version of the proposal, including a cover sheet with the current time request (cover sheet not required if no time is requested) and a status report (in place of the narrative) (up to 3 pages) summarizing the work completed (including the status of the data processing), 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. If observing time is requested in the current semester, include the object list.

P200 Large Project Page / v 0.5
Last updated: 31 October 2013 RJBAFB