Applying for ESO observing time

Proposals for observing time on ESO telescopes are currently CLOSED. For reference purposes, the most recent Call for Proposals information is provided below. The Call for Proposals for Period 103 (for observations between 1 April and 30 Sep 2019) is expected to be issued in early-Sep 2018, with a proposal deadline around 28 Sep 2018 (to be confirmed).

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has released the Call for Proposals for Period 102 (for observations between 1 October 2018 – 31 March 2019). Under the terms of the Strategic Partnership between ESO and Australia, Australian-based astronomers have access to the facilities of the La Silla and Paranal Observatories, specifically the:

  • 3.6-m telescope (3p6);
  • New Technology Telescope (NTT);
  • Very Large Telescope (VLT);
  • Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI);
  • Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA); and
  • VLT Survey Telescope (VST).

The proposal deadline is Wednesday 28 March 2018 at noon Central European Summer Time (9pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time).
All applicants should consult the Call for Proposals document for Period 102 document, and will require an ESO User Portal account to submit proposals. Also, check out our list of Frequently Asked Questions about ESO.

Under the terms of the Strategic Partnership agreement, the full suite of ESO facilities currently in operation at the La Silla Observatory and the Paranal Observatory are available to the Australian community on the same basis as astronomers from any member state, with the exception of:

  • the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). However the Joint ALMA Observatory does have an Open Skies policy.
  • the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX). APEX is a 12 meter radio telescope built by an international collaboration involving the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR), Onsala Space Observatory (OSO), and ESO; operations are entrusted to ESO. The observing time is shared as follows: Max Planck Institutes and German universities receive 49.5%, ESO receives 28.8%, OSO receives 11.7% and Chile 10%. Each partner has its own proposal submission process and rules.
  • the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), which is not expected to begin operations before 2024.

The AAO’s International Telescopes Support Office and ESO hosted a series of ESO Community Days in major capital cities around Australia in the lead-up to the Period 101 proposal deadline. Presentations by Dr Rob Ivison (ESO Director for Science) on “Current Facilities and Future Perspectives“, and Dr Ferdinando Patat (Head of the ESO Observing Programs Office) on “Time Allocation at ESO” are available.