Observing at NOIRLab

Starting 2022B: NOIRLab proposals must be anonymized. Instructions for PIs can be found on the Anonymization page
Starting 2022A: The launch of the Time Allocation System (TAS) includes important changes for users, such as 1) Direct LaTeX entry into the proposal form is no longer supported. Instead the main text sections of the proposal (Science Justification, Experimental Design, etc.) must be attached as PDF files to the web-based sections of the proposal. 2) Proposers must sign in to the CSDC Single Sign On (SSO) system to access the proposal form. Additional information is available in the Call for Proposals pageProposal Instructions page and the FAQ page.

Click here for the latest Call for Proposals

Click here to access the telescope schedules

Deadlines for submission:

Standard (check Call for Proposals for submission dates)
!** Note **
Note: NOIRLab standard proposals are accepted using the TAS proposal submission form. This form replaces the legacy NOAO proposal form (as of semester 2022A) and provides a much more streamlined submission process. Click here for proposal instructions. There are some key differences in the new system:
  • Proposal text must be anonymized. Starting 2022B proposal content must be anonymized with the exception of the "Team Information and Relevant Background" attachment field.
  • A CSDC user account is required to submit a proposal. This account will be used to manage all of your proposals. No longer do you use a separate new user for each proposal. You will be directed to the Proposal Form AFTER you login.
  • Our submission tools will no longer compile your LaTex. This means all entries must be submitted through the webform as plain text, with scientific text (e.g. SJ, ED) of the proposal (including figures) being submitted as a PDF
  • Multiple users can view a single proposal. Read, Write or Submit access can be granted to one or multiple investigators on the proposal.
  • Proposals can be recalled up until the proposal submission deadline. Made a mistake? Proposals can now be recalled as long as the submission period is still open.
  • More details of changes can be found on the FAQ page.
  • Our new help email is proposal-help@noirlab.edu
Gemini (check Call for Proposals for submission dates)
Survey (check Call for Proposals for submission dates)


Semester Information:

[A] semester (Feb 1 – Jul 31): Last day of September of the previous year
[B] semester (Aug 1 – Jan 31): Last day of March of the current year


Director's Discretionary Time

Cerro Tololo (proposals accepted at any time)
Gemini (proposals accepted at any time)


Other types of proposals

Gemini Fast Turnaround Program (deadline for proposal submission on last day of each month)
Gemini Poor Weather Programs (proposals accepted at any time)
Gemini Large and Long Programs (check website for current status)
NOIRLab Survey Programs (check website for current status)


NOIRLab provides access to time on a large range of facilities, including its own telescopes at KPNO and CTIO, partnership telescopes such as WIYN, SOAR, and Gemini, and private telescopes through institutional arrangements. Proposals are solicited twice per year, with proposals due on the last day in March (for semester Aug 1 – Jan 31) and September (for semester Feb 1 – July 31). For NOIRLab and partnership telescopes, NOIRLab staff support all aspects of the interface with proposers and observers, including assistance with proposals, support at the telescope, and support for data reduction. For private telescopes, NOIRLab staff support the proposal process and facilitate a smooth handoff to observatory personnel.

Available Facilities

This page lists the facilities for which the current call for proposals applies, as well as the approximate nights available for new programs. The call for proposals is typically made approximately one month before the deadline. Previous to that, the facilities listed are those from the previous call.

Available Instruments

This page provides an overview of all the capabilities available in the current (or previous) call for proposals.

Proposal Information

Proposals for standard observing programs at all NOIRLab facilities, at partner facilities, and at private facilities that provide some open-access time through the NOIRLab time allocation process, can be submitted twice each year. Survey programs are accepted annually, and investigators must submit a letter of intent to propose in advance.

Observing Preparation

After receiving time through the NOIRLab time allocation process, you should check here on what preparations should be made for your observing run. In cases where the observations will be obtained for you, you must provide sufficient information to allow the observer to do this successfully. Click on the links below for site-specific information:

Observing with Gemini

Observing at MSO-CTIO

Observing at MSO-KPNO


The Astronomical Event Observatory Network (AEON)  is a facility ecosystem for accessible and efficient follow-up of astronomical transients and Time Domain science.

Filter Database

A comprehensive list of filters available to NOIRLab users, labeled by telescope and instrument. In addition, plots and data are available for download for most filters.


Schedules for current and upcoming (when available) semesters for all telescopes with time allocated through NOIRLab can be found here.

Approved Survey Programs

Complete list of approved survey programs by NOAO/NOIRLab since 1999, with data available through the Astro Data Archive service.

Weather & Webcams

Weather information for our four summits, including links to seeing monitors and all-sky cameras.

Acknowledgments in Publications


Updated on February 17, 2024, 11:05 am