Guide to NuSTAR Cycle 1 Proposers
- November 14th, 2014 — Extend Deadline for Stray Light Contamination Analysis
- May, 2015 — Add information about Phase 2 (Budget) Proposals
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 April 1, 2015 - March 31, 2016. $1.5M in
funding will be made available to support the analysis of targets
accepted at priority A or B. 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 500 ks
of Suzaku observing time will be made available for
coordinated observations with NuSTAR.
Proposals are due no later than
4:30 pm EST on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.
Additional details concerning Cycle 1 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 1.
For further details, consult the
ARK/RPS help file.
- Cover Page
- 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
- If there are NASA civil servants among the team (as either PI or co-I),
then their estimated level of effort in FTEs must be entered
into the form. Enter 0 if there is no NASA civil servant on the team.
- 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.
- 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.
- In addition to investigations utilizing NuSTAR observations only, proposals involving coordinated observations with the Suzaku X-ray observatory can also be proposed during Cycle 1. Proposals for joint NuSTAR-Suzaku observations should be indicated by clicking the Joint proposal section of the ARK/RPS form, and inputting the requested Suzaku exposure time in each target form.
- Joint proposals for NuSTAR observations with Chandra or XMM-Newton cannot be submitted in response to this AO. However, NuSTAR does have separate agreements with Chandra and XMM-Newton for coordinated observations. Please see the main Proposals and Tools page for more information.
- General Form
- Target of Opportunity (ToO) proposals will not be accepted in response to this AO. ToO requests can be submitted directly to the NuSTAR project; please refer to the NuSTAR ToO Policy for more information.
- 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, certain selected proposals are eligible for
grant NASA funding. Only selected proposals from PIs at US
institutions with targets ranked as Category A or Category B are
eligible for grant funding. 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.
All proposing PIs were notified on April 17th of the results of the
Phase 1 selection process, in a letter from NASA Headquarters by
email. Those PIs who are eligible for funding received additional
instructions in the lettter on how and what to submit in a Phase 2
proposal. 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 NNH14ZDA001N-NUSTAR1.
Please note that after notification letters were sent to PIs, the
Phase 2 budget proposal deadline was extended to May 29th, 2015.
This revised deadline is reflected within the NSPIRES submission
Phase 2 proposals will be evaluated in July, 2015, and funds will be
released to selected investigators shortly thereafter.
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 1" (NNH14ZDA001N-NUSTAR1)
- 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.