Parabolic Dish

Call for Proposals


General Guidelines

1. Observing with our telescopes

In the present resource framework, service observations can be offered for VLBI programs run outside the framework of INAF international agreements (EVN, eVLBI, RadioAstron, etc.), under specific conditions (see section 3). Single-dish programs submitted to, and approved by the TAC will be run in guest mode. It is the responsibility of the PI to guarantee the presence of a member of the proponent team at the telescope when observations are scheduled. In addition, remote observing is available at the Medicina antenna. In the future it is planned to extend this observing mode also to the Noto antenna and to the SRT. Proper training and assistance are provided to novice users.

The Italian antennas of Medicina, Noto, and SRT are equipped with a common control software - developed in the framework of the DISCOS project - allowing optimised single-dish observations.

2. Which antenna(s) to use?

The three antennas form a single coordinated facility; users can submit a single proposal to request time either on one or more telescopes.
Proposers are asked to justify the choice of a specific antenna over the others (sensitivity issues, available receivers, etc.).
Simultaneous single-dish observations are possible, as much as interferometric projects involving two or more Italian antennas (and, if needed, international facilities).

Notably, the proposal form now contains an additional section in which the authors declare whether their program is suitable for possible re-allocation to one of the other antennas, in case the preferred one is unavailable - e.g because higher-rank programs are filling the schedule or unexpected technical issues arise. If such an option is chosen, the proposers are requested to specify the increase (or reduction) in observing time for each target that is needed to obtain the original scientific goals. This provides the projects with more opportunities: if re-allocation is acceptable to the proposers, the TAC could suggest to move the program to another antenna, under the obvious constraint that the expected scientific aims have to be matched.

3. Italian VLBI and non-EVN interferometric projects

This call includes VLBI observations being requested outside the EVN or IVS coordination. VLBI observers must take care of organizing the availability of international telescopes if needed by their observations. They are also required to arrange the storage and correlation of their data. Correlation time and disk space (also for VLBI experiments to be correlated elsewhere) can be provided for Medicina and Noto; PIs are invited to contact us prior to submission, in order to assess the availability of these services for their specific needs. In case the Sardinia Radio Telescope is involved, they also need to verify the availability of operators to carry out service mode observations.

4. Recovery of lost observing time

The recovering of observing time lost for weather-related downtime or technical failures cannot be granted by default. Observers are required to fill in the end-of-mission report, indicating the amount of lost time and its causes, for future evalutation and possible allocation of recovery time within the same observing semester. 
For recovery time requests, PIs must send an e-mail to the Directors (in CC to the RDO and schedulers) of the involved facilities.
Observing time of a scheduled project lost because of the override of ToO or NAPA observations (see offered programs) will be rescheduled on a best–effort basis.

5. MoU and LoIs policy

INAF requires that proposers who mention Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Letter of Intents (LoIs) in support of their proposals provide the TAC with a copy of such MoUs or LoIs. In particular, these formal agreements must already be active when the Call for Proposals is issued, and copies of the documents must be submitted to the TAC Chair along with the standard proposal form.

Three types of MoUs are expected to be involved:
  1. those between groups, or groups and other Institutes
  2. those between groups and INAF
  3. those between INAF and other Institutes
With the exception of programs whose MoU sets that they are uniquely evaluated by other TACs, any proposal related with a MoU has to be evaluated and ranked by the TAC as any other proposal.

6. Proprietary time

For standard, large, NAPA and ToO proposals a proprietary time of 1 year applies, starting from the acquisition date. A longer period may be requested for long (multi-term) projects and legacy projects. In these cases, the PI must specify the requested period and justify it within the proposal providing scientific motivations. The TAC will decide whether to accept the requested extensions to the standard duration of the proprietary period.