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Large and Long Programs - Frequently Asked Questions

1. What instruments are available for LLPs?

Any currently commissioned instruments are available for LPs.  In the North, this includes GMOS-N, GNIRS, and NIFS. NIRI is not available for LLPs as the observatory cannot commit to the long-term availability of the instrument. NIR imaging is possible using GNIRS. GRACES will not be available to LLPs for the current call for proposals. In the South, GMOS-S, GPI, and Flamingos-2 will be available for all semesters included in this call. GSAOI/GeMS is only available to LLPs for two years, through Semester 2018A. GPI NRM and Flamingos-2 MOS modes are not available for LLP proposals. Adaptive optics systems may be used (though be aware that laser operation is limited at both sites).  Further information about instrument performance and scheduling in 2016B will be available in the general 2016B Call for Proposals.

2. Are visitor instruments available for LLPs?

Any instrument previously commissioned as a visiting instrument may be considered for a LLP.  However, any LLP proposal to use a visitor instrument must have a commitment from the PI of the visitor instrument that the instrument will be available for use on Gemini during the lifetime of the LLP execution.

3. The last item of the proposal evaluation criteria contains “the extent to which the observations can be accommodated within routine Gemini operations.”  What are the limits on LLP proposals to not be negatively evaluated? 

An individual LLP need not request a balanced program across North/South, RA range, observing conditions, etc. However, the ensemble of approved LLPs must not overly impinge on other observing programs. Therefore, the ensemble of approved LPs should not exceed 25% of any relevant parameter, such as hemisphere, RA range, and observing condition bins. See for further information on observing condition constraints.  

For example, the best image quality, IQ20, in photometric conditions, CC50, only occurs approximately 10% of the time.  For the total time available on Gemini South in 2014A, one would expect these conditions to occur for only ~100 hours during the semester.   

4. What is the proprietary period for data obtained in a LLP?

Data obtained as part of an LLP shall have the standard proprietary period, 12 months from the date of an individual observation, although PIs are encouraged to consider a shorter proprietary period, or waiving it altogether.

5. How much time is available for these programs?

Up to 20% of the total time allocation from participating partners is available for LLPs. In 2016B, there are a maximum of 242 hours available for LLPs at Gemini North, and 213 hours available to LLPs at Gemini South. Note that existing LLPs will use nearly the entire LLP allocation for 2016B at Gemini South, leaving little-to-no time for new allocations. Nearly the full LLP allocation is available for both telescopes in 2017B and beyond.

Based on previous semesters, we expect to offer ~225 hours of LLP allocations for each semester The exact time available will depend on instrument commissioning, engineering, campaign science, etc. Existing LLP allocations will also reduce the time available to new LLPs and are provided in the table below.

Existing LLP Allocations (provisional)
Site 2016B LLPs 2017A LLPs 2017B LLPs 2018A LLPs
North ~185 hours
~180 hours
0 hours
0 hours
South ~208 hours
~122 hours
~20 hours
~20 hours


6. Will only one LLP be approved each year?

There is no set limit on the number of LLPs that may be approved each year. Our expectation is that multiple programs will be approved, provided they are scientifically compelling.

7. Why is there a restriction on LLP PIs, leaving out astronomers from Brazil and Chile?

Brazil and Chile elected not to participate in these Gemini LLPs at this time, a decision confirmed at the Board level. 

8. Does a proposal need to have “added value” beyond the science results to be successful? 

No, a successful proposal does not need to have added value beyond the scientific results.  This is merely one of the criteria by which all proposals will be judged (See Section 2.3).  A statement on added value, even if only to acknowledge there is none, is required by all proposals. 

9. Will LLPs be subject to review by the National TAC of the PI?

No. LLP proposals will only be reviewed by the LPTAC. However, there may be overlap between a partner's National TAC and their representation on the LPTAC.

10. Who will select the members of the LPTAC?

The LPTAC will have 9 'partner' members, six from the US, two from Canada, and one from Argentina.  These members are nominated by the corresponding designated Gemini Board members, or their delegates, and approved by the Gemini Director. Additional members may be appointed by the Observatory in order to balance the scientific expertise in the committee.  Any qualified, unconflicted scientist may serve in these 'at-large' positions; they do not need to come from the Gemini partnership or participating LLP partners.

11. What is the purpose of "considerations if allocated in band 2" requirement in the proposal narrative?

All awarded LLPs will be given allocations in either band 1 or 2.  The expected completion rates are different in each band and PIs may wish to consider this impact upon a band 2 allocation.  Possible considerations are a relaxing of the observing constraints and potential corresponding increase in allocation request, greater flexibility on targets and/or instrument configurations, or other consideration that would give greater flexibility in scheduling the science observations. Additionally, Band 2 programs will no longer default to Priority Visitor observing mode. If PV Mode is crucial to the science case of the proposal, justification should be provided in this section.

12. Are their supporting funds available from Gemini Observatory for successful LLPs?

No.  Gemini will not offer supporting funds for LLPs.

13. What CCDs can I assume are available in GMOS?

The new Hamamatsu CCDs with improved red response are available in GMOS-South. The upgrade for GMOS-N is preliminarily scheduled for the middle part of 2016. Because the timing of the GMOS-North upgrade is uncertain, your proposal should address feasibility with the current detectors or contingency plans if the upgrade is further delayed.

14.Is the Target of Opportunity (ToO) observing mode available for LLPs?

Yes, PIs are welcome to propose LLPs using the ToO observing mode. The guidelines for ToO observations at Gemini Observatory will generally apply to LLPs using this mode.  See Question 16 for more information about submitting for ToO observing mode. 

15. Can I change the co-I list from the original I submitted on my letter of intent?

Yes, you may adjust the co-I list. You do not need to inform Gemini of the change, just provide the complete and correct list with the final proposal submission.

16. Can I submit a mix of Standard and Rapid ToO observations in the same LLP proposal?

Yes. If your proposal contains any Rapid ToO observations, submit your proposal as a Rapid ToO proposal, even if it also contains Standard ToO observations. If your proposal only contains Standard ToO observations, submit your proposal as a Standard ToO proposal. If different conditions are required for the Rapid and Standard ToO observations, they must all be specified using different observations using the appropriate observing constraints. Investigators should be clear in the proposals about the total time requested in Rapid and/or Standard ToO observing modes.

17. Can I submit my program to both the LLP and regular semester Call for Proposals?

Yes. As the oversubscription rate for Large and Long Programs (LLPs) remains high, PIs are encouraged to consider proposing a subset of their LLP proposal as a regular semester proposal. PIs submitting proposals for the same science program to both the regular and LLP call for proposals are requested to indicate this in the "Use of Other Facilities or Resources” section of the regular queue proposal.