Flash Call for FORCAST Observations

Flash Call for Proposals for SOFIA/FORCAST Long Wavelength Camera/Grisms Observations.

The SOFIA program invites Director's Discretionary Time (DDT) proposals, through this "Flash Call", for observations with the FORCAST Long Wavelength Camera in the celestial region: RA, Dec: 13h - 19h, > +70˚, to be executed during flights at the end of June 2021. A total of up to ~6h of observing time is available, depending on detailed flight planning constraints.

The defining observations for three of the flights in the upcoming SOFIA/FORCAST series (OC8O), June 28 - July 3, are of the Moon, using the Short Wavelength Camera. Because of array latency, scientific observations with that camera are not viable for the rest of each flight. Based on initial flight plans, a set of end-of-flight, return-legs are, however, available for observations with the Long Wavelength Camera (LWC), in imaging or grism mode. Scientific observations with the FPI+ camera are also possible.

The headings of the available flight legs correspond to a general sky-area of Right Ascension = 16h-19h and Declination above +70˚. Minor deviations from this target area may be possible but cannot be guaranteed. The typical duration of each flight leg is 2h, for a total possible observing time of up to ~6h.

Because the details of flight legs are only settled once flight plans are laid out (relatively close to the flight dates), the turn-around for this Flash Call is short and proposals are due by 11:59pm on Wednesday May 26, 2021 (PDT).

All scientifically justified proposals compatible with the above constraints and the capabilities of FORCAST LWC (or FPI+) are welcome.

This Flash Call will use the new proposal process for Director's Discretionary Time observations.

We have endeavored to make the new DDT proposal process as close to the regular call process as possible, to simplify the proposal generation, submittal, and review. 

The proposals will be evaluated though an abbreviated, dual anonymous, review process. Proposers are therefore reminded to anonymize their texts accordingly. 

Proposals solicited and awarded through the DDT process do not, generally, have exclusive use periods for their data, or associated data analysis grants. Well-motivated requests for either will be considered by the Science Missions Operations Director. Any such requests should be explicitly discussed and justified in the proposal text.

Filters F315, F336, F348, and F371 are current available with the LWC, as are grisms G227 and G329. Characteristics of these and further details of the FORCAST imaging and spectroscopic performance can be found in the SOFIA Observer's Handbook for Cycle 9.

Questions about the call or proposals can be addressed to the SOFIA Help desk: sofia_help@sofia.usra.edu

As a non-exclusive possible starting point for your considerations, we note that a cursory review of infrared bright targets in this part of the sky yield a number of possible options, including:

  • NGC 5640 Spiral Galaxy
  • NGC 6217 Starburst galaxy
  • NGC 6251 Elliptical galaxy with extreme Seyfert 2 nucleus
  • NGC 6503 Isolated Starburst galaxy
  • NGC 6621 Interacting galaxies
  • NGC 6654 barred spiral galaxy
  • Ursa Minor Dwarf Dwarf Galaxy
  • NGC 6543 (Cat’s Eye) Planetary nebula (slightly outside the nominal area)
  • S UMi AGB star

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