NICER Proposals and Tools



NICER Guest Observer Program

In 2018, NICER began to solicit Guest Observer proposals from the general scientific community via NASA's ROSES Research Opportunities. A Phase 1 (Science) proposal is submitted to NASA HEASARC's ARK/RPS system, containing detailed target selection forms and a concise science justification. Proposals may come from both US and non-US researchers. Phase 1 proposals are evaluated by peer review panels. Data from approved GO observations are public by default, however, GO proposal PIs can request a six month exclusive-use period, subject to peer review approval.

NASA also provides grant funding to support certain selected proposals. These funds are limited to proposals with PIs at US institutions. Selected proposals will receive a notification letter with more details and an invitation to submit a Phase 2 (Budget) proposal. Phase 2 proposals are submitted to NASA's NSPIRES system. In addition, there are reporting requirements for proposals with budget awards.

Date Important NICER GO Cycle 2 Events
March 14, 2019 NICER Guest Observer Cycle 2 Announcement
August 14, 2019 Cycle 2 Phase 1 Proposal Submissions Open
November 13, 2019 Cycle 2 Phase 1 Proposals Due 4:30pm EST
January 2020Cycle 2 Peer Review
March 1, 2020 Cycle 2 Observations Begin

New in Cycle 2:

The following items have changed compared to Cycle 1:

  • ToO requests with unknown targets are allowed.
  • More flexible observing strategies are available for monitoring programs.
  • Moving targets are allowed.
  • Multi-year proposals (up to 1 year beyond the end of Cycle 2 observations) are allowed with sufficient science justification.
  • Erroneously high background estimates in PIMMS (see below) have been corrected. (In addition, two background estimator tools have been released by the team.)

General Information

NICER Cycle 2 Guide for Proposers

The Guide for Proposers summarizes guidelines from the NASA Research Announcement for NICER Guest Observers. It also describes in detail the elements and submission method for Phase 1 (Science) NICER Guest Observer proposals, as well as for Phase 2 (Budget) proposals.

NICER Cycle 2 Phase 1 (Science) Proposal Submission

The HEASARC's Remote Proposal System (RPS) is an automated service providing Guest Observers from around the world an easy-to-use facility for submitting proposals in response to NASA Research Announcements.

NICER Proposal Tools

The NICER Proposal Tools provide documentation of the mission and applications/files that can be used for count rate and spectral simulations in order to help potential proposers demonstrate the feasibility of their proposed NICER observations. Approximate target visibility windows can be determined and NICER-specific observation properties are described.

  • NEW!! Two tools for estimating NICER's background have been released by the GOF. You can find out more on the Background Estimator Tools page.

NICER Science Team Investigations

By agreement with NASA's Astrophysics Explorers Program, the NICER Project is required to fulfill certain science objectives. The NICER Science Team Investigations support these science objectives. Proposed Guest Observer projects that duplicate existing projects of the NICER Science Team must justify that duplication, and may not be favorably reviewed.


Additional Opportunities to Propose for NICER Observing Time

Unsolicited NICER Target of Opportunity (ToO) or Director's Discretionary Time (DDT) Observations

The Cycle 2 GO program allows for ToO proposals to observe known sources. In addition, unsolicited ToO requests for transient and unpredictable phenomena, from both known and previously unknown sources, can be made using the the NICER ToO request form.

Joint Programs Through Other Observatories

Currently NICER has arrangements with the NuSTAR observatory which makes available joint observing time. Please see the NuSTAR Proposal page for more information about the current NuSTAR Announcement of Opportunity.


NICER News & Helpdesk

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NICER Helpdesk: If you have any questions concerning NICER or the NICER GO program, please use the Feedback form.