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Suzaku Guest Observer Facility

Guide to Suzaku Cycle 7 Proposers

Notable Changes Since Cycle 6

  • There is no longer a category of "Long Program" proposals. The PI may desginate any proposals with a total exposure time of 500 ks or longer as "Key Project," while no regular proposals with total exposure time of 1,000 ks or more will be considered.
  • Observations using XIS3 in the P-sum/timing mode are encouraged; there is no longer an upper limit on how many such proposals can be accepted.
  • Due to an increased instability in the Suzaku attitude, the use of "HXD nominal" pointing is no longer supported.

1. Who May Propose through NASA

Only PIs affiliated with, and located at, a US institution should submit Suzaku proposals through NASA. Researchers in an ESA member country should apply through ESA, while researchers in Japan and in all other non-US, non-ESA countries should apply through ISAS/JAXA. Please note that descriptions on this page apply only to submission to NASA; detailed procedures for submissions to ISAS/JAXA or ESA are somewhat different.

In rare cases, a single PI may be considered to have dual affiliations and therefore eligible to submit Suzaku proposals to a choice of agencies. Such PIs should, however, choose one agency through which to submit all their Cycle 7 Suzaku proposals. It is forbidden for a single PI to submit Suzaku proposals to multiple agencies during a single cycle, even if they are for independent projects. When in doubt, please contact the respective agencies to confirm eligibility.

2. Deadline

The proposals are due at 4:30 pm EST on Thursday, November 10, 2011.

3. Proposal Elements and Submission Method

The proposals we solicit will be used purely to determine the allocation of observing time. Successful PIs will have the opportunity to apply for funding through ADAP. Therefore, no budget proposals will be required or accepted through the current process.

Hardcopy submission is not required. The submission process is all electronic, and through the HEASARC ARK/RPS system. 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 regular proposals, and 8 pages for Key Project proposals, 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 justification file.

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 required elements.

4. Some Key Details of the Proposal Form

New Suzaku PIs must first create an ARK account and/or join the Suzaku RPS group. Having done so, the Suzaku RPS form can be accessed via ARK/RPS.

We provide below some key details for Suzaku Cycle 7. For further details, consult the ARK/RPS help file.

Cover Page
  • Target of Opportunity proposals are allowed, but must be for specific targets (with known coordinates), not exceeding 5 in number. Generic TOOs (such as for "new transients") are not allowed.
  • TOO and regular targets should not be mixed in a single proposal.
    • As a special exception, Key Project proposals may contain a mixture of regular and TOO targets. Such a proposal should be marked non-TOO.
  • Key Projects are defined as comprehensive observing programs sampling a number of objects of a particular class, or surveying a larger region of the sky, in order to take maximal advantage of the unique attributes of Suzaku to address important astrophysical problems. Any proposals requesting a total of 500 ks or more can be designated as a Key Project. There is no upper limit to the total exposure time for a Key Project.
  • Regular proposals may not request more than 1,000 ks of observing time. Proposals requesting 500 to 1,000 ks of time can be submitted either as a regular or a Key Project proposal.
    • For TOO proposals, it is not the sum of exposure times for individual candidate objects, but the maximum amount of exposure time requested, that should determine the proposal category. For example, "a 100 ks TOO on one target out of a potential list of 5 objects" will show 500 ks as the total time on the cover page, but will be considered as a 100 ks proposal.
  • If proposals for the same target are approved by US and Japanese reviews, the international merging committee may recommend "merging" of the two proposals using the time reserved for joint proposals (488 ksec). In this case, both teams will receive the data, although one lead PI will be designated. The two teams will be encouraged to collaborate. If the proposers do not wish this to happen, check "no" in the "International Merging Acceptable" box, which, however, decreases the chance of the proposal getting accepted.
    • This assumes that the US and the Japanese teams worked independently. A single team must not apply for time for the same observation through multiple agencies.
General Form
  • To facilitate checking for conflicts of interest during the peer review process, the co-I's institute must be chosen from the menu (thereby enforcing a uniform set of names). Please check the list of institutions and contact the RPS team early if your co-I's institute is not on the list.
  • If there are NASA civil servants among the team (PI or co-Is), 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 Suzaku proposals. Use the endorsement related entries only if it is required or desired by the PI's institution.
  • Up to 25 co-investigators can be entered into the RPS form. In such cases, only the first 10 will appear on the formatted (LaTeX/PostScript/PDF) versions of the form. The full list will be available for conflict checking and to the reviewers.
Target Form
  • "Number of observations" greater than 1 can be specified for monitoring or rastering observations. However, doing so implies a uniform sampling. For monitoring, the observations will be of equal exposure times and roughly equally spaced. For the rastering case, the observations will be of equal exposure at each pointing positions, which form a regular pattern on the sky. If more complex sampling is required (in time or in space), each pointing must be specified as a separate target.
  • Coordinated, monitoring, phase-constrained, and roll constrained observations are all considered time-critical. The TOO and time critical targets are approved up to 15% of the total observing time. If such constraints are not correctly and explicitly declared on the form, it might be judged as a drawback during the review process or, if approved, the observations may be carried out without the necessary constraints.
  • If an observation needs be carried out on a specific date (or a range of dates) for whatever reason, such a target must be flagged as time-critical, even if the reason does not fit neatly into the pre-determined categories specified above. Also, if repeated observations of a single target is requested, they are considered to be monitoring observations for this purpse, even if the PI places no restrictions on the spacing of the observations.
  • One unit of XIS, XIS3, (but not the other two) can be used in P-sum/timing mode. If this is desired, specify "PSUM" as the XIS clock mode, and enter the modes for the other units in the target remarks box.
  • Proposers should include a summary of details that are necessary for scheduling and observation planning (constraints, TOO trigger criteria, observing mode) in the Remarks box for each target.

After completing all fields, 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 form early.

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.

5. Scientific Justification

  • The scientific justification for a regular program must not exceed 4 Letter size pages. The limit is 8 pages for Key Project proposals.
  • Optionally, an additional page containing the PI's vita can be included.
  • We strongly recommend a font size of 11pt or greater.
  • We do not provide a template file. The justification can be generated using the software of the PI's choice, as long as it is converted to PDF format before submission.
  • 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 Suzaku over other existing observatories (preferably linked to some unique characteristic of Suzaku); and demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed observation and analysis.
  • Proposals for targets already observed by Suzaku are allowed, but must include a justification for an additional observation, such as a much longer exposure, different pointing within an extended object, or different observing window of a variable object. Observed and/or approved Suzaku targets can be found using the suzamaster catalog of Browse or using the lists in the Timelines & Mission Information section of our site.
  • PIs of priority C or TOO targets in Cycle 6 must re-propose if they wish to ensure that their observations are carried out. Acceptance of such proposals are likely to be contingent on Cycle 6 observations not being carried out to completion. These targets are in principle open to all proposers in Cycle 7.
  • The length of the observation should be justified based on the specific scientific objectives, preferably using simulations or scaled from prior Suzaku observations of a similar source. However, we set the minimum observing time at 10 ksec.
  • In TOO proposals, the triggering criteria must be spelled out and an estimated probability of trigger during cycle 6 must be included.

If you have any questions concerning Suzaku, visit the Feedback form.

This file was last modified on Friday, 07-Oct-2011 10:28:16 EDT

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