Guide to NuSTAR Cycle 2 Proposers
Dec. 7, 2015 - The RPS forms were updated to be more consistent with the stray light check output options, i.e., "No issues" or
"Potential stray light issue".
Table of Contents
This Announcement of
Opportunity (AO) solicits Guest Observer proposals
for NuSTAR. Approximately 6.5 Ms of time will be available
in the observing period May 1, 2016 - May 31, 2017. $1.5M in
funding will be made available to support the analysis of targets
accepted at priority A, B or C . Priority C targets will be observed
on a "best-effort" basis. Target proposals will be considered from
both US and foreign PIs. Only PIs affiliated with, and located at,
a US institution will be eligible for funding for accepted
NuSTAR proposals through NASA. In addition, up to 1.5 Ms
of XMM observing time will be made available for
coordinated observations with NuSTAR.
Proposals are due no later than
4:30 pm EST on Friday, December 11, 2015.
Joint Observing Projects
A total of 1.5 Msec of XMM-Newton observing time is
available through NuSTAR Cycle 2 for joint NuSTAR/XMM
Joint NuSTAR/Suzaku programs are no longer available in NuSTAR Cycle 2.
Target of Oppotunity (ToO) Observations
A total of at most 500 ks of observing time will be made available to ToO proposals.
Accepted Cycle 2 ToO observations may be triggered until the end of the cycle.
It is the responsibility of the PI of an accepted ToO proposal to alert the NuSTAR SOC when the
trigger conditions for their accepted ToO have been satisfied. This is done via submission of a
NuSTAR ToO Request Form at http://nustar.caltech.edu/page/too_policy.
Prior to submission of
this form, the PI should verify,the
visibility of the target.
ToO proposals will not be accepted for either a core collapse supernova
in the Local Group or a Type 1a closer than the Virgo Cluster.
These constitute required mission Level 1 observations and should either event occur
the observations will be planned and executed by the NuSTAR project.
Bright Source Observations
The time available for observations of bright sources has been increased
from 300 ksec to 1 Msec in Cycle 2
Limited funding is now available for support of Cycle 2 Category C U.S. Principal Investigator proposals
Additional details concerning Cycle 2 are given in the NuSTAR AO.
There will be a two-phase proposal process. Phase one is for observing proposals. Phase two is for budget proposals for successful phase one proposers who were awarded priority A or B targets. Only observing proposals will be accepted at this time.
Proposal submission is done via the HEASARC ARK/RPS on-line system. Hard-copy submission is not required. The following
elements are required:
- Proposal form (cover page & general form, and one or more
pages of the Target form) generated by, and submitted through, ARK/RPS.
- Scientific justification in PDF format, not exceeding 4
pages for a regular proposal, to be uploaded through ARK/RPS.
The following is optional:
- A 1-page vita of the PI, to be appended at the end of the scientific
The following should not be submitted:
- The PI's institution's own cover page.
- Formatted electronic copies of the ARK/RPS form.
- Hard copies of any of the above, including electronically
New NuSTAR PIs must first create an ARK
account and/or join the NuSTAR RPS group. Having done so,
the NuSTAR RPS form can be accessed via
We provide below some key details for NuSTAR Cycle 2.
For further details, consult the
ARK/RPS help file.
- Cover Page
- Institutional endorsement is not required by NASA in NuSTAR
phase 1 proposals. Use the endorsement-related entries only if
they are required or desired by the PI's institution.
- In addition to investigations utilizing NuSTAR observations only, proposals involving coordinated observations with the XMM-Newton observatory can also be proposed during Cycle 2. Proposals for joint NuSTAR-XMM observations should be indicated by clicking the Joint proposal section of the ARK/RPS form, and inputting the requested XMM exposure time in each target form.
Proposers may submit the same proposal to XMM AO-15 and NuSTAR Cycle 2. However, the XMM-Newton AO-15 approved program will be taken into account during the NuSTAR Phase 1 review and duplicate observations of the same targets by NuSTAR will typically not be awarded.
- Joint proposals for NuSTAR observations with Chandra cannot be submitted in response to this AO. However, NuSTAR does have separate agreements with Chandra for coordinated observations. Please see the main Proposals and Tools page for more information.
- General Form
- To facilitate checking for conflicts of interest during the peer review process, the co-I's institution must be chosen from the menu (thereby enforcing a uniform set of names). Please check the list of institutions and contact
the RPS team as soon as possible if your co-I's institution is not on this
into the form. Enter 0 if there is no NASA civil servant on the team.
- Up to 25 co-investigators can be entered into the RPS form. Only the first 10 will appear on the PDF versions of the form. The full list will
be available for conflict checking and will be provided to proposal reviewers.
- Target of Opportunity (ToO) proposals will be accepted in response to this AO. The minimum allowed required response time is 48 hours.
- Target Form
After completing all fields for a proposal in ARK/RPS, use the
Verify button to confirm
that all required entries exist and conform to the expected format.
Forms that pass verification can then be submitted. ARK/RPS allows
PIs to continue to modify submitted proposals
until the deadline, so there is no penalty for submitting the proposal
The LaTeX, PostScript, and PDF buttons of
ARK/RPS can be used to generate formatted versions of the proposal forms.
Although it is often useful for the PIs to keep formatted copies of the forms
for the record, it is not a required part of the proposal submission process.
- The scientific justification for a regular program must not exceed
4 Letter size pages.
- Optionally, an additional page containing the PI's vita can be
- Proposals must use a font having no more than 15 characters per inch (horizontally), typical of font Times New Roman 12. The scientific justification can be
generated using the software of the PI's choice, as long
as it is converted to PDF format before submission.
- We suggest that proposers use the LaTeX template or
the Word template for the scientific justification. When
using these templates, the user should double-check that the top, botton, right
and left margins are at least 1 inch.
- Proposals should include a description of the scientific
objectives; justify the choice of target(s); show that existing
data (previous X-ray observations or at other wavelengths)
are insufficient to achieve the objectives; justify the choice
of NuSTAR over other existing observatories (preferably
linked to some unique characteristic of NuSTAR);
and demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed observation
- Proposals for targets already observed by NuSTAR are
allowed, but must include a justification for an additional
observation, such as a much longer exposure, different pointing
position within an extended object, or different observing window for a
variable object. Observed and/or approved NuSTAR
targets can be found using the HEASARC/Browse
numaster table or by using NuSTAR
- The length of the observation should be justified based on the
specific scientific objectives, preferably using simulations or
scaled from prior NuSTAR observations of a similar source.
However, the minimum NuSTAR observing time for a target is
set at 20 ksec.
After peer evaluation, proposals with US PIs with category A or B
targets that are not time constrained (TC) or a target of opportunity
(ToO) will receive NASA funding once their cost proposal has been
submitted and reviewed. US co-Is on proposals with non-US PIs are
not eligible for funding. Phase 2 (budget) proposals are submitted
through NASA's NSPIRES system.
Please note that after notification letters were sent to PIs, the
Phase 2 budget proposal deadline was extended to June 10, 2016.
US PIs of proposals with TC, ToO, or Category C observations
will not receive funding until a target from their program is observed.
PIs of such proposals will be invited to submit a Phase 2 proposal
if one or more of the targets in their Phase 1 proposal is scheduled
for observation during Cycle 2. Therefore the NSPIRES NuSTAR Cycle 2
budget solicitation will remain open throughout Cycle 2 (May 1, 2016-May
30, 2017). However, the PIs of these programs can
optionally submit a budget proposal by the June 10, 2016 deadline in order to expedite the grant
process when or if a target from their program is observed.
Note that limited funding for the support of costs such as travel expenses associated with presentation
of the results at a scientific conference, page charges, etc., will be held in reserve for Category C proposals executed during Cycle 2.
As with all NASA ROSES proposals, final institutional
submission is required. Please leave enough time for your
institutional process. If your institution requires a NASA grant
solicitation number, it is NNH15ZDA001N-NUSTAR2.
To submit a Stage 2 proposal, follow these basic steps:
- Log on to NSPIRES. If
you do not have an NSPIRES account, you will need to create one and
affiliate with your institution.
- On your NSPIRES home page, click on "Proposals/NOIs."
- Click the "▸Create Proposal" button.
- Select "Solicitation." Even though your proposal
has already been selected via phase 1, do not select "Prior-phase
- Select "NuSTAR Guest Observer - Cycle 2" (NNH15ZDA001N-NUSTAR2)
- Enter proposal information and your institutional affiliation.
- When proposal elements are complete, use the "Release to Org"
button to release the proposal to your institutional proposal office.
- Your institutional proposal office must then perform the final proposal submission.
If you have any questions concerning
NuSTAR or the NuSTAR GO program, visit the Feedback form.