Call for LBC Science Demonstration Time is open!

Following the successful start of the LBC commissioning in October 2006, the LBT Board has decided to start the LBT scientific operations by opening an LBC "Science Demonstration Time" starting from January 2007. The goal of SD Time is to test the LBC performances on different scientific applications and to allow the LBT community to practice in the handling of its data.

The Board affirmed that the organization of the SD activity is under the responsibility of the Science Demonstration Team, chaired by Emanuele Giallongo, as PI of LBC, and comprising two representatives from each partner.  The full list of SD team members is available here. The SD team would solicit and choose observing programs, and make sure that every scheduled night is covered by observations. 

The present call is related to the LBC-Blue channel only, for the period January-April 2007. The scheduled time is 1 week in January, 2 weeks in February, and 1 week in March and April, all around new moon to ensure dark sky.

A second call for a full LBC Blue+Red SD Time will be issued following the installation of LBC-Red and the commissioning of LBT in a fully binocular configuration, which is expected to be completed not earlier than May-June 2007.

During this period, LBC-Blue will be equipped with a UBVGR filter set (details are given here). Owner-supplied filters are not supported.

LBC performances can be evaluated using the Exposure Time Calculator (link). Very preliminary analysis of the earlier commissioning data suggests that ETC overestimates the LBC performances by about 15%. Improved modelling of LBC will be adopted after the analysis of commissioning data.

Proposals for SD time can in principle cover most observation categories, such as relatively simple, short programs, survey-like campaigns, observations of targets with a regular time sampling, serendipitous observations of new objects like SN or GRB. Proposals that can be executed in relatively poor conditions (poor seeing or non-photometric nights) should also be submitted to ensure proper exploitation of all observing conditions.

Proposal for SD Time must be submitted within December 1, 2006, using the latex forms available (here). Proposals must be submitted by e-mails to
SD Team members are also organizing a pre-collection of proposals within each partner, and should be contacted before the proposal submission.

SD proposals will be reviewed by the SD Team, and a final ranking will be released by December 15. PIs of proposals with overlapping science goals or targets might be asked to consider merging their proposals into a single one.

Ranking of the proposals will be based on their scientific merit, with no pre-allocated amount of time for each partner. A list of approved proposals with the relevant PI will be posted on the WEB.

SD observations will be executed in service mode, under the responsibility of the SD Team, which is in charge of the scheduling and execution of the observations, in collaboration with the LBTO staff and the LBC Team. This choice has been taken in order to obtain the highest quality data according to the operational and observational conditions. PIs of accepted proposals will have to prepare the "Observing Block", i.e. the detailed description of the observations, using the GUI available here.

To allow the scheduling of the observations, accepted SD proposals will be ranked in two or three different categories of different priority. All efforts will be done in order to complete at least 90% of any top-priority proposal. As a general rule, completion of a subset proposal will have a higher priority than the partial execution of all proposals.

Standard calibration will be performed by the SD Team, following also the results of the commissioning runs. Special requirements about photometric calibration must be described in the proposal, and a corresponding amount of time must be included in the proposal itself.

All SD data will be made publicly available to all LBT partners. SD data will be released as soon as possible after they are taken. Detailed instructions on how to obtain the data will be given later.

The LBC Team is actively working on the characterization of LBC. Following the analysis of the commissioning data, the LBC Team will release a "Calibration Plan" that will contain both the basic calibration data (such as average zeropoints, color terms, astrometric solutions) as well as descriptions of the optimal procedures to remove the instrumental imprint on the data.

A subset of calibration images will also be released by the LBC Team before the startup of SD, to allow potential LBC users to prepare their data reduction procedures.

In the long term, the LBC Team also plans to release dedicated pipelines and to provide support to specific programs by carrying on the data reduction.

PIs who are potentially interested should mention it in the proposal, and/or contact Adriano Fontana (e-mail).

Emanuele Giallongo, on behalf of the whole SD Team.