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To apply for CfA telescope time, the CfA must be your primary affiliation and you must be resident at a CfA facility. (Working from home counts as residence.)  In-coming postdocs may apply if they will be in residence during the semester. CfA staff on leave or sabbatical may also apply for time.

PROPOSALS ARE DUE at NOON Eastern Time (EST or EDT) on the 2nd Tuesday of April and October, as follows:

Due Datefor TelescopeSemester
April 9, 2024MagellanB (July 13 - Jan 6)
April 9, 2024MMT + FLWOB (mid Aug1 - Jan 31)
Oct 8, 2024MagellanA (Jan 7 - Jul 15)
Oct 8, 2024MMT + FLWOA (Feb 1 - mid July1)




1The exact dates of MMT+FLWO summer shutdown vary.



  • Proposals must contain:
    1. Cover page (generated by proposal system).
    2. Scientific Justification & Experimental Design (2 page limit, 12pt font required).
    3. Figures and Tables (1 page limit)
    4. Addendum (no page limit, but typically 2-3 pages as described in the Instructions for CfA OIR Telescope Proposals)
  • LATEX TEMPLATE for everything (except the Cover page, which is auto-generated). PDF version here.
  • If applying for more than one instrument, please submit a SEPARATE proposal for each instrument on each telescope (even if the same telescope). A proposal should contain a request for ONE instrument only. This facilitates bookkeeping and the review process.
  • Any proposal requiring more than one semester of time should be marked as Long: long-term proposals must state the number of nights needed for completion and, if continuing, state progress made.
  • Large proposals requesting more than 6 nights in a single semester are allowed an extra page for the scientific justification. These will be reviewed more critically.

REVIEW PROCESS: Proposals are sorted by telescope and by instrument, and then distributed to the Time Allocation Committee (TAC). Proposals are ranked according to:

  • Overall scientific merit
  • Publication record using CfA facilities
  • Availability of time requested

Grades from each TAC member are normalized and averaged to produced rank-ordered lists for each telescope. The TAC members meet to discuss each proposal and assign time, given the time available on a telescope. Finally, the time is scheduled by the observatory staff in consultation with the relevant TACs (e.g. Magellan involves 6 partners).

SCHEDULE NOTIFICATION: PIs are notified by the appropriate observatory (MMT, Magellan, or FLWO) when schedules are complete, typically 1 month before the semester begins. The TAC Chair will then send notes to PIs who were not scheduled time, or to PIs with substantive TAC feedback/concerns.