Monday, January 21, 2013

Call for BVIT proposals

We invite submissions of Berkeley Visible Image Tube camera (BVIT)  science commissioning programs to be carried out during the remainder of  2012 Semester 2 (i.e. up to 30 April 2013). A small allocation of time  (~30h) is set aside for this and the purpose is to exercise the  instrument and to test its performance on a variety of short programs.  These programs will not be charged.  

BVIT is a visitor instrument built at the Space Science Laboratory of  the University of California-Berkeley. It is a photon-counting camera  with a ~1.9 arcmin field of view, capable of very high time resolution  (millisec or microsec) photometry with a B, V, R or H-alpha filter. It  can be used for objects with magnitudes ranging from V~12-20.  

Please note that BVIT does not provide high precision absolute  photometry, but by observing nearby standard stars a flux intensity  relative precision of ~ 5% can typically be obtained. Every detected  photon is assigned a time of arrival and a (x,y) position on the  detector, which allows an observer a high degree of post-acquisition  data analysis flexibility.  

Users should also be aware that the instrument does not have an  autoguider, although guidance checks can be done as needed by  interrupting observations for ~1 min. Typically we can observe without  guidance corrections for up to ~50 min, depending on the object position.  

Applications can be completed using the usual Phase 2 PIPT proposal  form, selecting the "commissioning" button. The scientific  justification needs not to be too detailed or lengthy and should simply  summarize the particular regime or aspect of the instrument that will be  tested, and the type of target to be observed and its parameters. The  observing conditions and observation details can be entered with the  PIPT, as usual.  

Proposals should ideally be submitted by 10 Feb and will be selected by  the BVIT instrument team, in conjunction with SALT Astronomy Operations,  with priority to those programs expanding the parameter space of the  instrument.  

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