Call for Share-risk Observing Proposals during the FAST Commissioning Phase

The National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC)




The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), a state-funded Large-scale Fundamental Facility in Science and Technology, was completed on September 25, 2016, and is currently in its commissioning phase. Being such a powerful tool, it has already produced a prominent science result while doing commissioning observations, namely, the discovery of new pulsars. The main effort during the rest of this phase will focus on the following goals: (1) improving the performance of the facility to pass the check-out at the state level and preparing for the normal operation; (2) establishing the modes of observations and providing the specifications accordingly; (3) while fully considering the various constraints in technology and management, trying to exploit the uniqueness of FAST to produce significant scientific results that can further highlight the power of FAST.


To expedite the utilization of this great facility, the NAOC is now opening a share-risk call for proposals during the commissioning phase. The call is open to the entire Chinese community, with the hope that the pilot observations in this phase will provide a wide range of test cases for the fine-tuning of the telescope.


The FAST team has set up a series of testing programs during the early stage of the commissioning, which are mostly small-scale programs designed to test the core capabilities of FAST. The execution priorities are given to those that only need moderate amount of time and yet have the potential of a fast turn-around in terms of publications. Some of these programs have already been carried out. This Commissioning Phase Share-risk Call for Proposals will follow the similar guidelines in accepting programs. The proposers should be aware of the following:


    1. Generally speaking, all the data obtained by the successful programs in this call will have 12 months of proprietary period, after which the data will be made public according to the relevant policies. Possible exceptions are the data taken on pulsars, whose release will be set by the rules according to the general practice of the international community in this field.


    2. These programs will be share-risk in nature. To minimize the risk, it is required that a program should have at least one FAST personnel among the co-I's. A PI can either choose the collaborator(s) from the FAST team on his/her own, or contact the FAST proposal coordinator for a list of possible FAST team members to invite as co-I's (email:


    3. Due to their high volume, the FAST data are currently not suitable to transfer over Internet. The data taken will be stored at the FAST Data Center in Guiyang. During the commissioning phase,

the FAST team can set up an account at the data center for an external observer, and provide support for the data storage, reduction and analysis. Alternatively, observers can also take their own mobile storages to the data center to copy over the data.


    4. The FAST team has its own early-science programs (FAST ESPs), whose abstracts have been made public (see Appendix 1). If a PI of this call wishes to propose a program that is in conflict with one of the ESPs, s/he should coordinate with the contact person of this ESP to work out a collaboration before the submitting the proposal. If it happens that no agreement can be reached, it should be clearly stated in the proposal so that the TAC will take this into account when reviewing.


    5. The abstracts of the accepted proposals from this call will be made public. Those that are not accepted can be resubmitted later when FAST starts its normal operation.


    6. To emphasize, this call is only for the commissioning phase and should not be assumed to be extendible into the normal operation after FAST is checked out at the state level.


It is expected that FAST will be able to provide an observing window from April 1 to September 30, 2019 for the programs accepted under this call. The current estimates of the available time are 360 day-time hours (for tracked observations) and 960 night-time hours (for drift-scanning). Please see "The Overview of Operational Specifics of FAST" for detailed specifications of the telescope and the instrument (Appendix 2).


Please use the provided template (Appendix 3) to prepare your proposal, and submit to by 17:00 Beijing Time, February 28, 2019.


Should you have any questions, please contact us at