Table of Contents

Proposal Information

Caltech community

Members of the Caltech community* are invited to propose observations with the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory.

The CSO consists of a 10.4 m diameter Leighton telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. With active adjustment, the surface accuracy is about 13 µm rms. The instrument suite supports spectroscopy and continuum imaging at wavelengths between 2 mm and 350 μm

A full complement of heterodyne receivers covers the atmospheric windows from 177 to 920 GHz. New 230 GHz and 460 GHz receivers have 4 GHz IF bandwidths and fully automated (synthesized) local oscillator tuning. Older receivers for the 345 GHz, 650 GHz, and 850 GHz atmospheric windows have 1 GHz IF bandwidths and require manual tuning. In addition, a wide band (4 GHz), manually tuned 345 GHz receiver is available for special projects. DSB receiver noise temperatures are about 40 K at 230 GHz; 50 K or 90 K at 345 GHz, depending on receiver; 40 K at 460 GHz; 230 K at 650 GHz; and 400 K at 850 GHz. Two FFTS spectrometers are available. The high resolution FFTS1 provides 8192 channels across a selectable bandwidth of 1 GHz or 500 MHz, which is tunable across the 4 GHz IF band. The new wide band FFTS2 provides 16384 channels across the full 4 GHz IF band.

MUSIC is multiwavelength MKID camera. In its present configuration, MUSIC has an 11 x 11 arcmin field of view, three simultaneous wavelengths (1.1 mm , 1.4 mm, and 2.1 mm), and 250-300 operational detectors. MUSIC is currently available for science observations although instrument upgrades continue. Measured sensitivities are 15-30 mJy beam-1 hr0.5 for small sources, depending on wavelength. MUSIC is an ideal instrument for surveying for dusty, star-forming galaxies and for star-forming regions in our own Galaxy and, with its unique, extended wavelength coverage, for studying galaxy clusters with the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect. The MUSIC instrument team plans surveys covering many square degrees and roughly 200 galaxy clusters and welcomes inquiries about collaboration on these surveys.

SHARC II is a 12×32 pixel bolometer camera for 350 μm and 450 μm. In good weather, its sensitivity is about 1 Jy beam-1 s0.5 over a 2.5 x 0.9 arcmin field of view.

The SHARP polarimeter functions at 350 µm in conjunction with SHARC II. Proposals for SHARP will be considered provided they do not request sources that overlap the instrument team's survey of low-mass Class 0 cores. Proposers are encouraged to contact the instrument PI, Giles Novak to explore collaborative arrangements. In return for the instrument and for observing and data analysis assistance, observers using SHARP must support an amount of observing time for the SHARP team.

Z-Spec, a 195-310 GHz grating spectrometer, is expected to be available starting in mid 2014. ZEUS2, a grating spectrometer for 350 μm, 450 μm, and 650 µm, may become available later.

Remote observations are supported, subject to some restrictions, with the 230 GHz and 460 GHz receivers, with MUSIC, with SHARC, and with SHARP. For the other instruments, investigators normally travel to the telescope for their observations. CSO staff will provide orientation and limited training for novice observers.

For safety, two (or more) persons must be present at the telescope whenever anyone is there. University of Hawaii at Hilo undergraduate volunteers are sometimes available to assist with in person observations. Observers who go to the telescope are responsible for travel to Hale Pohaku and for lodging and subsistence there. Subject to Caltech policies, CSO 4WD vehicles are provided for transport between HP and the telescope. Depending on circumstances, CSO vehicles may be available for Caltech staff to travel between Hilo and HP. Observers should expect to contribute to the costs of cryogens for SHARC/SHARP, Bolocam, and Z-Spec and, when necessary, the travel expenses of instrument support personnel.

Proposals for observations will be considered as they are received. Proposals should include an abstract and scientific justification. Proposals should also describe a plan for reducing data with publicly available tools or by collaborative arrangements with experienced CSO observers or relevant instrument team members. Please use the CSO proposal template. In addition, please list (1) publications by any proposal investigators using CSO data since 2010; (2) all students and postdocs who have used the CSO since 2010; and (3) students who have obtained a PhD using the CSO. Send proposals to Simon Radford, CSO Operations Manager Proposals will be reviewed by the CSO director and an advisory committee.

The CSO web pages have more information about the telescope and instrumentation, including atmospheric transmission spectra. Please address any questions to Simon Radford, CSO Operations Manager


Caltech faculty, students, and staff may propose CSO observations in response to this call.

Members of the IPAC and JPL staff will be invited to submit proposals through a separate call for JPL proposals.

Instrumentation information

Proposal template