Public Surveys and new instrumentation for Calar Alto Observatory

Calar Alto Observatory opens a call for new instrumentation projects


The Calar Alto observatory (CAHA) is a key institution for the international astronomical community, for its highly competitive astronomical facilities (telescopes and instrumentation). From 2019 on, the current administration of CAHA includes the Junta de Andalucía as a new partner - replacing the Max Planck Gesellschaft -, and together with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) these two institutions manage the operation of the observatory.

The recent success of long-term observational projects already finished (CALIFA) or close to finalization (CARMENES), together with the innovative tradition in available instrumentation of CAHA, point to the necessity of a new call to the international astronomical community for scientific and technological proposals that will contribute to keep the level of excellence of the observatory.

With this motivation, we are pleased to announce a workshop focused on two different subjects:

1. Public surveys to be carried out with instrumentation already available at the 3.5m telescope. These projects must require at least four observational semesters and a minimum of 20 nights per semester for completion. They might require simultaneous observations with other telescopes/instruments in CAHA or from other ground-based or space-born astronomical facilities.
2. Public surveys to be carried out with new instruments at the 2.2m and 3.5m telescopes. The impossibility to carry out these projects with the instrumentation already available at the observatory shall be justified in detail. In addition to this, the proposal must include a sketching of the characteristics of the instrumental design and telescope implementation. As in the previous case, these projects must require at least four observational semesters and a minimum of 20 nights per semester for completion.

Proposals corresponding to points 1 and 2 will be evaluated by two committees designated by the CAHA director, that will select the most challenging proposals from the scientific and technological points of view, and from their expected legacy value. Therefore, this announcement can be considered as an official call for observational legacy projects and new instrumentation. In both cases, projects must involve at least one institution from CSIC and/or from Junta de Andalucía. The Executive Committee of CAHA will decide which proposals will be considered to be carried out, and will establish the next steps to continue.
For the selected proposals corresponding to point 2 (a maximum of two) an agreement between CAHA and the host institution of the PI will be signed. This agreement will concern and ensure funding for only the viability study of the instrument. Through this agreement, CAHA will settle the scope of the viability study and the collaboration framework with the institution of the PI. It is expected that the investment required to finish the construction of the instrument will be mostly external to CAHA, in return for extensive telescope access to carry out the associated legacy project. Finally, the involvement on the construction of the instrument of staff from CSIC and from universities and research institutions based in Andalucía will be positively evaluated.

IMPORTANT: Type 1 (resp. type 2) proposals must be sent to workshop(AT) before the dead-line for proposal submissions, in PDF format explaining in a maximum of six pages (resp. 10 pages) -- including figures -- the following points:

1. Abstract
2. State of the art and scientific rationale
3. Justification of the requested observing time

In addition to this, type 2 proposals will have four additional pages to explain:

4. Technical description and capabilities of the instrument
5. Description of the consortium (institutions, people)

This PDF document is mandatory for types 1 and 2 proposals to be considered submitted. In addition, oral presentation in the workshop is highly recommended, to explore likely synergies between different proposals that could be modified/merged upon request of the committee.

As part of the program of the workshop, technological companies are also invited to show their skills and capacities in the field of cutting-edge astronomical instrumentation.

The workshop will take place in Granada, at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) headquarters, on March 12-13 2020.

Second announcement: January 9th 2020.

Dead line for proposals submissions: 23:59 (CET) of February 14th 2020.

Scientific program: February 28th 2020.

Registration is available at


Applicants will have the possibility to ask for funding when filling the registration form. The organization will decide on the quantity assigned to each applicant. Due to the capacity of the conference room, the registration will be limited to 70 people. This workshop is funded by the RIA, thus no fee is required.

Questions regarding technical questions of the proposals must be addressed to The answers to these questions will be published in so that the information is available to all potential interested people.

Las preguntas de carácter técnico relacionadas con las propuestas podrán dirigirse a la dirección Las respuestas a estas preguntas se publicarán en para que todas las personas potencialmente interesadas tengan acceso a la información.


Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC)
Unidad de Divulgación y Comunicación
Silbia López de Lacalle - sll[arroba] - 958230676