BASIC INSTRUCTIONS

Utilizing ARK, the Astrophysics Research Knowledgebase, a service of NASA's High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center, RPS provides a facility for filling out the Swift proposal cycle forms, as part of the ROSES NRA. Electronic submission of the proposal forms is required. The scientific justification must also be submitted electronically, uploaded as a PDF file after the initial submission of the electronic proposal forms. Please note that this PDF cannot exceed 10 MB in size.

In order to access the Swift RPS web form, you must first create an ARK account and/or join the SWIFTRPS group.

If you already have an ARK account, login first and select "Join Group" from the menu next to "Swift RPS (SWIFTRPS)" and then click on the Submit Changes button.

If you do not already have an ARK account, enter your e-mail address in the input field provided and click on the checkbox next to "Swift RPS (SWIFTRPS)" and then click on the Join ARK button. Check your e-mail and click on the activation code found therein. Fill out the ARK registration form and submit.

Next, proceed to the Swift RPS web form and fill out the form as directed below. Targets can be added at the end of the form or by clicking the Add Targets button at the top or bottom of the page. The Add Targets button can be used to add blank targets or to upload a plain text file containing a list of target names and/or positions. Please note that this latter method will only fill in the fields for the target name and pointing position; you will still need to enter other information (observation time, number of observations, constraints, etc.) for each target using the web interface. Alternatively, after adding some targets, you can use the Save button to download a plain text representation of the ARK form, which you can edit in your favorite text editor and then Reload into ARK. Note that the file format used by the Reload mechanism is the same as the format of the files generated by the Save button.

After you have filled out the form, click the Verify button to make sure you have entered the form information correctly. If the form does not validate, ARK/RPS will identify the reason(s) for non-verification, which you will need to correct. Once the form verifies successfully, a Submit button will appear, allowing you to you to submit the proposal to RPS.

The PostScript, PDF, and LaTeX buttons can be used to generate formatted versions of the proposal forms. We recommend that PIs keep formatted copies of the forms for their personal records, but it is not a required part of the proposal submission process.

After clicking on the Submit button, go to your Recent Activity page. Summary information for the proposal that you just submitted should be listed here, indicating that you have successfully submitted your Swift proposal forms to ARK/RPS. You may now upload your scientific justification in PDF format. From the Recent Activity page, click on the Files button next to the proposal you submitted, and then click on the Upload button and follow the instructions on that page. After you have successfully uploaded your scientific justification, you have completed your RPS electronic submission.

Note: After submission and before the proposal deadline, you may still Modify or Discard your proposal using the appropriate buttons on the Recent Activity page. The Files button also enables you to Download, Discard, or Replace any file that you previously uploaded.

Additional information on how to use RPS and the answers to some frequently asked questions can be found on the RPS Quick Help page.

Short descriptions of the forms and fields are below. The fields are listed in the same order as found on the web page. The labels for the fields in the web form will link to the appropriate field description below.

FORM/FIELD-SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS

Cover Page

This section contains fields for the proposal title, the type of proposal, the proposal abstract, and information about the Principal Investigator of the proposal, such as name, institution, address, telephone number, etc.

Proposal Type

Choose the type of proposal you will be submitting from the following list of options:
  1. Theoretical GRB and non-GRB investigations (funding only)
  2. Correlative GRB observations involving new or enhanced IR ground-based capabilities for investigating high redshift bursts (funding only)
  3. Other correlative GRB and non-GRB investigations (funding only)
  4. New Swift projects (funding only)
  5. Swift TOO observations of GRB or non-GRB targets (observations and funding for US PIs)
  6. Swift non-TOO observations of non-GRB targets (observations and funding for US PIs)
  7. Swift fill-in targets (observations only)
  8. Large programs (requesting more than 100 targets or more than 100 ks total exposure time)
The type of proposal you select will determine whether or not you need to fill in at least one target form. Required.

Science Subject

Select the main science focus for your proposal from the list provided. If you select "Other," then you must elaborate in the space provided (up to 25 characters). Required.

Proposal Title

The title of the proposal. Up to 120 characters are allowed. Required.

Abstract

800 characters maximum. Abstracts exceeding this limit will cause an error and must be shortened. Required.

Principal Investigator Title

Your title (Dr., Ms., Mr., Prof.). The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

First Name

Your first name. Up to 30 characters are allowed. Required. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Middle Name or Initial

If you like, you may add your middle name or initial(s). Optional. Up to 30 characters are allowed. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Last Name

Your last name (surname). Up to 30 characters are allowed. Required. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Department

The name of your department at your institution. Up to 60 characters are allowed. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Institution

Your institutional affiliation. Required. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Address 1

The first line of your institution's address, e.g., the street name, any number within it, etc. Up to 60 characters. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Address 2

The second line of your institution's address, if needed. Up to 60 characters. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

City/Town

Your city or town. Up to 32 characters. Required. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

State/Province

The name of the state/province/prefecture in which your institution is located. Up to 30 characters. Required. For states in the U.S., please use USPS-standard, two-letter abbreviations. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Zip/Postal Code

The postal code, ZIP code, or equivalent of your institution. Up to 10 characters. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Country

The name of the country in which your institution is located. Required. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission. If your country is not listed, please contact the RPS Help Desk.

Telephone Number

Your telephone number, plus any extension. Please include the international prefix if appropriate. Up to 24 characters allowed. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

Fax Number

Your fax number, if available. 24 characters allowed. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

E-mail Address

Your e-mail address. Up to 60 characters. Required. An e-mail receipt will be sent to this address within 24 hours of the electronic submission of your proposal, if the e-mail receipt option is checked in your ARK user profile. The value for this field comes from your ARK user profile. If it is incorrect, update your ARK user profile prior to proposal submission.

General Form

This section contains fields for details about your collaborators, if any, and additional contact information, as well as the anticipated budget and NASA FTE commitment. Up to 15 Co-Investigators can be specified.

Co-Investigator First Name

The first name of each Co-Investigator. Up to 20 characters.

Co-Investigator Last Name

The last name of each Co-Investigator. Up to 20 characters.

Co-Investigator Institution

The institution for each Co-Investigator. Up to 60 characters. Please refer to the List of Institutions Recognized by RPS and use the official name of the institution wherever possible. Note: If your Co-I's institution is not among those listed, please contact the RPS Help Desk and request that it be added to the list. Such requests are typically answered within 24 hours, excluding weekends and U.S. Federal holidays.

Co-Investigator Country

The country for each Co-Investigator. If a country is not listed, please contact us at the RPS Help Desk and request that it be added to the list.

Co-Investigator E-mail Address

The e-mail address for each Co-Investigator. Up to 60 characters.

Contact first Co-Investigator listed above?

This checkbox can be used to indicate whether or not the first Co-Investigator listed is also a contact person in cases where the Principal Investigator cannot be reached. The default is to contact only the Principal Investigator.

Telephone Number of First Co-Investigator

Telephone number of the Co-Investigator that should be contacted. Up to 24 characters. Be sure to include the international code if outside the United States. Only enter a value for this field if you specify that the first Co-Investigator should be contacted.

Is this investigation part of a graduate student thesis?

Specify whether or not the proposal is part of a graduate student's thesis.

Number of Undergraduate Students Involved

Specify the number of undergraduate students involved in this project.

Number of Graduate Students Involved

Specify the number of graduate students involved in this project. If you specified that the proposal is part of a graduate student's thesis, then this number must be greater than or equal to 1.

Is this a joint Swift/NRAO proposal?

Specify whether or not the proposal is part of the joint proposal program with the NRAO by clicking the checkbox. If specified, please add at least one target form in order to specify the particulars of the NRAO observation(s). Note that the Swift/NRAO joint proposal program can award a maximum of 200 hours on NRAO facilities for any single proposal.

Do you agree to receive your peer review evaluation by e-mail?

If you agree ("Yes", which is the default), the Swift Project will send you the proposal's peer review evaluation by e-mail, which means that you will get it faster. If you don't agree to this (by specifying "No"), you will receive a hard copy letter through postal mail to the mailing address you have specified in the Cover Page form.

Anticipated Total Budget

The anticipated budget request, if this proposal is accepted. Specify a value in units of $1000 US (e.g., enter "29.5" for an anticipated total budget of $29,500). The specified value should be below or at the average funding award (~$30k), unless the Proposal Type is 2, as defined above. Also, the value must be 0.0 if the Proposal Type is 7 (Fill-In proposal). PIs from non-US institutions are ineligible for funding and should enter 0.0. Required.

NASA FTE Commitment

The number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) NASA civil servants (in units of years) that would be supported by this proposal, if approved. This may be a fraction or zero. This information is collected for NASA records only and does not affect acceptance of the proposal. Example: If two Co-Is are NASA civil servants and each will be supported for 10% of their time with this grant during this proposal cycle, then enter 0.2000 (0.10 + 0.10) for this field. Required.

Target Form(s)

This section contains the details that need to be filled in for each different target. Note: If any one target in the proposal is a Target of Opportunity (TOO), then all targets in the proposal must be TOOs. TOOs and non-TOO targets may not be combined in the same proposal; they should instead be submitted as separate proposals. Similarly, Fill-in Targets are a separate category, and cannot be combined with TOO or regular non-TOO targets. If you select proposal type "7" in the Cover Page form, all of your targets must be Fill-in Targets. See the Swift GI Program FAQ on Fill-in Targets for further details.

Target Name

The commonly accepted name for the object. Up to 20 characters. Required. Please use standard names for known targets (e.g., NGC 2237 or Eta Car).

R.A.

The J2000 right ascension of the source. The value can be entered in either sexagesimal format (HH MM SS.SS — hours, minutes, seconds, separated by spaces) or decimal degrees format (DDD.DDDDD). If you enter the value in sexagesimal format, it will be converted to decimal degrees format when you submit. Note: If you are proposing to observe a generic Target of Opportunity (e.g., new supernovae) whose position is unknown at the time of proposal submission, please specify "0.0" for both the R.A. and Dec. fields. Required.

Dec.

The J2000 declination of the source. The value can be entered in either sexagesimal format (±DD MM SS.S — an optional sign, either + or -, followed by the degrees, minutes, and seconds, separated by spaces) or decimal degrees format (±DD.DDDDD). If you enter the value in sexagesimal format, it will be converted to decimal degrees format when you submit. If you do not specify the sign, it is assumed to be positive. Note: If you are proposing to observe a generic Target of Opportunity (e.g., new supernovae) whose position is unknown at the time of proposal submission, please specify "0.0" for both the R.A. and Dec. fields. Required.

Source Type or Description

Select the type/description of the targeted source from the list provided. If you select "Other," then you must elaborate in the space provided (up to 25 characters). Required.

Target of Opportunity?

Indicate whether or not this object is a Target of Opportunity (TOO). A Target of Opportunity can be either a non-GRB target or a GRB that was detected with an instrument other than Swift. Targets of Opportunity include any proposal to observe a source under conditions that cannot be scheduled in advance. E.g., when non-periodic phenomena such as outbursts, state changes, novae, etc., occur. TOOs must include trigger criteria for observation, such as number of counts in a given instrument. Note: If any one target in the proposal is a TOO, then all targets in the proposal must be TOOs. TOOs and non-TOO targets may not be combined in the same proposal; they should instead be submitted as separate proposals. Also, note that Fill-in Targets (proposal type "7" in the Cover Page form) cannot be TOOs.

Priority

Select the urgency of the observation from the list provided. This indicates how quickly an observation should be scheduled once the trigger criteria have been met. Specify only for Targets of Opportunity.

Trigger Criteria

Specify the criteria that should trigger observation of the target. For example, "We want to catch the end of an outburst, so the observation should be triggered when the RXTE ASM count rate falls to between 8-13 counts/sec after a burst." Up to 500 characters. Specify only for Targets of Opportunity.

Trigger Probability

Give a realistic probability that the Target of Opportunity will be triggered during the observation cycle, based on the trigger criteria specified above. The probability must be greater than 0.00 and less than or equal to 1.00. Specify only for Targets of Opportunity.

Monitoring Program?

Indicate whether or not this is a monitoring program. A monitoring program is defined as two or more observations of the same source. Specify the desired number of observations in the Number of Observations field, further down on the Target Form, and describe how the observations should be scheduled in the Monitoring Criteria field. The unique scheduling requirements of Swift put severe constraints on monitoring programs. Regular, periodic monitoring cannot be accommodated. Refer to the section on monitoring in the Swift GI Program FAQ for further details. Note: If the proposed monitoring involves observations at a specific phase or similar constraints, check Constrained? and fill in the Constraints Description field, further down on the Target Form.

Monitoring Criteria

Describe the observing scheme that meets your scientific goals. For example, "three 2-ksec observations spaced anytime from 7-20 days apart." Note that the unique scheduling requirements of Swift put severe constraints on monitoring programs. Regular, periodic monitoring cannot be accommodated. Refer to the section on monitoring in the Swift GI Program FAQ for further details. Note: If the proposed monitoring involves observations at a specific phase or similar constraints, check Constrained? and fill in the Constraints Description field, further down on the Target Form. Up to 500 characters. Specify only for monitoring programs.

Coordinated Observation?

Indicate whether or not the request is for coordinated observations between Swift and another observatory. Since this coordination constitutes a constraint on the observation, check Constrained? and fill in the Constraints Description field, lower down on the Form.

Coordinating Observatory

Specify the name(s) of the coordinating observatory(ies). Save the description of the coordination details for the Constraints Description field, lower down on the Form. Up to 100 characters. Specify only for coordinated observations.

Constrained?

Indicate whether or not scheduling of the observations is constrained in some manner. Allowed constraints include the following: phase-constrained proposals, coordinated observing campaigns with ground-based or satellite-based facilities, etc. Time-constrained observations are defined as observations that have to be performed within a certain time window. These can be ToOs or non-ToOs, either monitoring (more than one visit to a source) or non-monitoring observations, but not fill-in observations. This includes phase-constrained proposals, coordinated observing campaigns with ground-based or satellite-based facilities, etc. Note that the unique scheduling requirements of Swift put severe constraints on time-constrained programs. Time-constrained observations are subject to the following limits: (1) the window duration must exceed 3 hours; (2) no more than 500 time-constrained visits will be performed during the proposal cycle. For coordinated and constrained observations, it is the proposer's responsibility to inform the Swift Science Operations Team of the observing time windows at least one week before observations commence.

Constraints Description

If your observation is time constrained, describe the constraints in details here, e.g., window duration (in hours), if and how the observation is coordinated with other facilities, and how far in advance the Swift Science Operations Team will be informed. Other details such as which precise part of the source phase to observe or specific times/dates that observation must be performed should also be described, if applicable. If this observation should be coordinated with another observatory, fill out the Coordinated Observation? and Coordinating Observatory fields in the Target Form. Then, put the details for that coordination here, including how contemporaneous the observations must be. For example, "Coordinate the observation with Chandra. We have an accepted Chandra AO-13 proposal for this source. Work with Chandra team to determine an observation time suitable to both satellites. Swift observation should take place within one week of the Chandra observation to be of value, and optimally within 2 days." Up to 500 characters. Specify only for constrained observations.

Instrument Most Critical to Science Goals

Select the instrument from the list provided that is most critical to achieving your science goals. Required.

Aspect of Observation Most Critical to Science Goals

Select the aspect of the observation from the list provided that is most critical to achieving your science goals. Required.

Total Observation Time

The preferred duration in kiloseconds for observing the target. This is the total observation time, so this is the sum of all pointings. The minimum time is 1 ksec. Required.

Number of Observations

Enter the number of desired observations of the target, where an observation must be between 1-40 ksec. For monitoring observations this will give the number of parts into which the Total Observation Time will be evenly divided, unless the Monitoring Criteria field indicates otherwise. Refer to the Swift GI Program FAQ on Observation Length for further discussion. Required.

Estimated XRT Count Rate

Source count rate in counts/sec typical of the source. Required.

V Magnitude of Proposed Source

The V magnitude of the proposed source or target of the observation. If unknown, then leave this field blank.
Note about optical loading of the XRT instrument: Bright optical sources can leak through the thin XRT optical blocking filter, causing "optical loading" that can severely complicate or compromise analysis of the X-ray data. There are several possible mitigations to this problem, but no good solutions. In general, objects brighter than 8 magnitude (V < 8 mag) should not be observed in PC mode. Objects brighter than 5 magnitude (V < 5 mag) should not be observed in any mode, as the data will be poorly calibrated and may be useless. If you have an extremely compelling science case that requires such an observation, we strongly suggest that you contact the Swift Help Desk to discuss the observation before submitting your proposal.

XRT Mode

Select the XRT mode from the list provided. Required.
Photon Counting (PC) Mode
PC mode generates images with 2.5-s time resolution and is best suited to count rates below 0.5 cps. PC mode can be used for higher count rates, but the data will be piled up and will require special processing by the user. Choose PC mode if your science goal is to determine a good X-ray position. A two-dimensional image is generated. This mode allows the user to derive spectra at the CCD resolution.
Windowed Timing (WT) Mode
WT mode produces 1-D images with about 2-ms time resolution and is best suited to count rates over 1 cps. WT mode has higher background than PC mode. Choose WT mode if your science goal requires high-resolution timing. This mode allows the user to derive spectra at the CCD resolution.
Automatic (AUTO) Mode
Auto mode allows the instrument to choose the mode automatically, based on the count rate. Sometimes subject to "mode switching", which can result in a loss of useful data. Choose this mode when the X-ray count rate is unknown; the instrument will then select the mode automatically. Useful data results, unless the target is affected by scattered light from the bright earth.

UVOT Filter Mode

Select the UVOT filter mode from the list provided. Required. In order to preserve UVOT filter wheel rotations, any filter mode other than "Filter of the Day" needs a strong justification. If you select "Custom," then you must specify the mode in the Remarks field.
Note: UVOT grism observations are not part of the fill-in targets program and should not be requested through proposals of that type.

Remarks

Any relevant comments you wish to make regarding the target or its observation. Up to 500 characters.
NRAO Observation Parameters
If you are requesting an observation at an NRAO facility through the Swift/NRAO joint proposal program, you must request a positive number of hours at least one NRAO facility. Note that the joint proposal program can award a total maximum of 200 hours on NRAO facilities for any single proposal. The array, wavelength, or receiver should be specified through the pull-down menus, if possible. Additional information, such as the justification for the number of hours requested, must be provided in the scientific justification.

VLA Hours

Specify the total number of hours requested on the Very Large Array. Required for Swift/NRAO joint proposals requesting VLA time. Specify values in 0.1-hour increments up to a maximum of 200.0 hours. Leave this field blank if you are not requesting VLA time.

VLA Array

Optional (but encouraged) for Swift/NRAO joint proposals requesting VLA time. If possible, indicate the VLA array from the following possible choices:
     VLA-A
     VLA-BnA
     VLA-B
     VLA-CnB
     VLA-C
     VLA-DnC
     VLA-D
     VLA-Any

VLA Wavelength

Optional (but encouraged) for Swift/NRAO joint proposals requesting VLA time. If possible, indicate the VLA wavelength from the following possible choices:
     400 cm
      90 cm
      20 cm
       6 cm
       4 cm
       2 cm
       1.3 cm
       0.7 cm

VLBA Hours

Specify the total number of hours requested on the Very Large Baseline Array. Required for Swift/NRAO joint proposals requesting VLBA time. Specify values in 0.1-hour increments up to a maximum of 200.0 hours. Leave this field blank if you are not requesting VLBA time.

VLBA Wavelength

Optional (but encouraged) for Swift/NRAO joint proposals requesting VLBA time. If possible, indicate the VLBA wavelength from the following possible choices:
      90 cm
      50 cm
      20 cm
      13 cm
       6 cm
       4 cm
       2 cm
       1.3 cm
       0.7 cm
       0.3 cm

GBT Hours

Specify the total number of hours requested on the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope. Required for Swift/NRAO joint proposals requesting GBT time. Specify values in 0.1-hour increments up to a maximum of 200.0 hours. Leave this field blank if you are not requesting GBT time.

GBT Receiver

Optional (but encouraged) for Swift/NRAO joint proposals requesting GBT time. Indicate the GBT receiver to be used from the following possible choices:
     290-920 MHz (PF1)
     910-1230 MHz (PF2)
     1.15-1.73 GHz (L)
     1.73-2.60 GHz (S)
     3.8-6.1 GHz (C)
     8.0-12.0 GHz (X)
     12.0-15.4 GHz (Ku)
     18.0-26.5 GHz (K)
     26.0-36.0 GHz (Ka)
     38.2-49.8 GHz (Q)